Johnny Cueto hasn’t pitched since May 19 due to stiffness in his right elbow, but he made it through a bullpen session on Sunday morning without issue and has been cleared to return to the Reds’ starting rotation Tuesday night in Philadelphia.
“I feel like I lost a month. I feel like it’s been forever,” Cueto told the Cincinnati Enquirer, via interpreter Tomas Vera. “Thank God it was only a little thing that happened, I’m fine and I’m good to go.”
Cueto has posted a 3.03 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and 60/12 K/BB ratio in 65 1/3 innings this season for the Reds. If his health cooperates, the 29-year-old impending free agent will be one of the biggest chips on this year’s trade market.
The Nationals have scratched outfielder Bryce Harper from tonight’s lineup against the Reds due to a sore back. This will be the first game he hasn’t started this season.
Harper was hit square in the middle of his back by a 93 mph fastball from Reds left-hander Tony Cingrani in the seventh inning last night. There was a little bit of drama involved, as the Reds were peeved that he took too long to make it down to first base. It turns out that getting hit in the back by a 93 mph pitch hurts. Who knew?
Clint Robinson will start in Harper’s place in right field tonight while Michael Taylor will start in left.
Reds reliever Tony Cingrani hit Bryce Harper in the back with a fastball in the seventh inning of Friday night’s game against the Nationals. Here’s the video. Putting Harper on first base meant that the tying run was only 270 feet away from home plate, so it’s difficult to see Cingrani wanting to hit Harper on purpose in that situation.
As Harper was hit square in the back, he took his time getting to first base. Per MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, first baseman Joey Votto was not happy about the way Harper handled the situation, for some reason. He was 0-for-3 to that point, so it wasn’t like he gawked at a home run.
Cingrani wasn’t happy about Harper, either.
Harper is still only 22 years old, but he’s in his fourth year in the majors and has unquestionably been the best player in baseball so far this season. For whatever reason, some players like Harper — as well as Yasiel Puig and Carlos Gomez — become lightning rods with which older players use to make points about the unwritten rules.
Grant Brisbee wrote a terrific column about baseball’s unwritten rules at SB Nation recently, which certainly has relevance here.