Johnny Cueto as a reliever would be interesing

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Johnny Cueto had a 3.33 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 41/14 K/BB ratio through 48 and two-thirds innings this season, but he’s been sidelined since June 28 with a strained lat muscle. He threw a bullpen session the other day which was described as “impressive” and looks poised to rejoin the Reds soon.

But he may do it as a reliever, speculates C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer. If he did he could do what Tim Lincecum did for last year’s Giants team in providing a solid and potentially dominant long man which would give his manager an option if one of his starters had a bad go of it.

I’d be curious to see if Dusty Baker would be willing to think outside of the box like that.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.