Reds will start Johnny Cueto against Pirates in Wild Card play-in game

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Mat Latos has been considered the likely favorite to start the Wild Card play-in game against the Pirates at PNC Park on Tuesday, but Reds manager Dusty Baker told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer after today’s game that Johnny Cueto will get the call.

Latos probably would have been the choice if he was 100 percent, but Baker said that his arm is “barking” right now. The good news is that Cueto has been solid since returning from his lat strain, allowing two runs (one earned) over 12 innings while striking out 10 batters and walking four.

Cueto will be opposed by Francisco Liriano, who has a 1.47 ERA in 11 starts at home this season.

Miguel Sano gained weight this offseason

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Not all players coming in to spring training are in The Best Shapes of Their Lives. Some have put on a few pounds, such as Miguel Sano, notes Twins GM Thad Levine:

Sano has been given medical clearance to engage in all baseball workouts with his teammates, his surgically reinforced left shin now completely healed, though the Twins intend to lighten his schedule to prevent any new injuries.

They’d like to lighten something else, too: His “generous carriage,” as General Manager Thad Levine delicately put it last week. Sano’s conditioning understandably lags, after a winter largely spent incapacitated by the surgery.

Sano’s conditioning has often been a topic of conversation among the members of the Minnesota press corps, though not always in good faith. For example, last year when Sano injured his shin by fouling a ball off of it, one member of the The Fourth Estate found a way to make a column out of blaming the freak injury on Sano’s conditioning. At least in this instance his colleague is correctly noting that the poor conditioning is a result of the injury and not the cause.

Still, it’s just another issue facing Sano this spring. He’s out of shape, coming off of an injury, and — not that he’s due any sympathy for it — he’s facing a likely suspension arising out of the allegations of sexual assault leveled against him late last year.

So this spring we’ll be seeing more of Sano, it seems. At least until that time we’ll be seeing less of him.