Cueto ‘feeling ready’ after second rehab start


Johnny Cueto grabbed a piece of bubblegum, pulled his Dayton Dragons hat over his Cincinnati Reds skull cap and went to work on Tuesday — just another night at Fifth Third Field for the Dragon turned Red turned Dragon.

The second rehab start for the injured Reds ace went about as well as hoped. Cueto threw five innings against the West Michigan Whitecaps, as planned, and didn’t allow a run on three hits. He threw 58 pitches, 39 of which were strikes, and struck out four without a walk.

“Thank God, everything went really well,” said Cueto through his interpreter, Dragons pitching coach Tony Fossas. “I worked on all my pitches like I would have in a real game. I’m feeling ready.”

Cueto was efficient enough in his five innings that he threw 23 more pitches in a bullpen session after leaving the game. He left as the pitcher of record with the Dragons leading 1-0 on a home run by Robert Ramirez in the fifth.

Cueto’s Dragons teammates also helped him in the second. The first two batters, Jeff Holm and Lance Durham, reached on singles, but Cueto got out of the jam with a flyout and a double-play groundout.

“Every time I’ve come here, the guys have done a good job,” Cueto said.

Cueto hasn’t pitched for the Reds since April 13. He has been on the disabled list with a strained right lat muscle in his back. He showed no signs of discomfort on the mound Tuesday.

Missing more than a month of the season “has been tough,” Cueto said. “But I knew I was hurt and I was calm about it so I can come back healthy.”

In his absence, Tony Cingrani has gone 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA in five starts, though he’s given up six earned runs in 10 innings in his last two starts and was given an extra day of rest this week because of a sore shoulder.

“He’s doing a good job,” Cueto said, “and he needs to continue doing it because you never know what can happen.”

Cueto threw three innings in his first rehab start Thursday for the Dragons. He gave up one run on four hits with four strikeouts.

After the game, Cueto bought dinner from Outback Steakhouse for his teammates. Cueto was in their shoes seven years ago when he pitched for the Dragons.

“One of the things that impressed all of us is just how much command he has of the zone with all his pitches,” pitcher Joey Housey said, “and how he gets loose with all his pitches and starts off slow until he gets that release point down and builds up.”

Pitcher Robert Stephenson, Housey and Sal Romano talked to Cueto in the clubhouse after Thursday’s start.

“His change-up is filthy,” Stephenson said. “I was watching it and I thought for sure he was going to say he throws a splitter. He was showing us his grip. Turns out, it’s a change-up. I didn’t expect that at all.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Dragons beat Chiefs 6-5 in 13 innings
Dragons beat Chiefs 6-5 in 13 innings

Extra innings has not been kind to the Dragons of late. They had dropped all eight of their most recent extra-session contests but snapped that streak Thursday night. It took 13 innings, but the Dragons were gifted a 6-5 defeat of the visiting Peoria Chiefs (Cardinals) at Fifth Third Field. With two outs in the 13th, the Chiefs’ center fielder...
Reds notes: Suarez moves up in the order — and delivers
Reds notes: Suarez moves up in the order — and delivers

Eugenio Suarez’s batting average isn’t really that much to be proud of, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been an effective hitter this season for the Cincinnati Reds. Suarez, who’s spent most of the season batting in the middle of manager Bryan Price’s lineups, made his first appearance in the No. 2 slot in Thursday&rsquo...
Red ruminations: Castillo not terrible, so at least there was that
Red ruminations: Castillo not terrible, so at least there was that

The Reds’ 12-2 loss to the Diamondbacks Thursday afternoon was a bit like throwing gas on a fire, but there was -- sort of -- some balm to be found in Great American Ball Park. At least there was this about starter Luis Castillo: The rookie starting pitcher allowed four earned runs in six innings, which isn’t fantastic (unless indexed against...
Pitching putrid again as Reds get shellacked by Diamondbacks
Pitching putrid again as Reds get shellacked by Diamondbacks

The Reds left Great American Ball Park after Wednesday’s 11-inning, 4-3 walkoff win over Arizona expecting to face Diamondbacks right-hander Taijuan Walker in Thursday afternoon’s series finale. They showed up the next morning and learned that Walker had left the team overnight to tend to his wife Heather, who’d gone into labor. Left-hander...
5 quick facts from Ohio State football’s new media guide
5 quick facts from Ohio State football’s new media guide

Missing college football?  Well, it won’t be long now as conference media days have already started and preseason schedules are starting to be announced.  For some people*, reading through the new media guide is also one of those rites of summer.  Scrolling through a PDF isn’t quite the same as tearing through those old glossy...
More Stories