Yesterday when the Reds announced that Johnny Cueto has been diagnosed with a strained right oblique muscle they initially left open the possibility that he could start today’s Game 4 against the Giants.
That always seemed incredibly unlikely and sure enough just hours later manager Dusty Baker officially ruled out Cueto for the start. However, the actual Game 4 starter hasn’t been announced yet as the Reds decide between Mat Latos on short rest or Mike Leake, who could only be added to the roster if Cueto is removed (and thus made ineligible to return before the World Series).
Latos threw four innings and 57 pitches in relief of Cueto in Game 1 on Saturday, so perhaps the short rest would be canceled out by the lower than usual workload. Based on the usual recovery timetable for oblique injuries Cueto is unlikely to be ready for at least a couple weeks and if that’s the case they might as well make the move for Leake.
For now the Game 4 starter is listed as “TBA” and the first pitch is scheduled for 4:07 ET.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.