Johnny Cueto leaves game with strained right lat

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Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto has enjoyed great success this season with his reworked delivery, registering a superb 2.31 ERA across 156 innings.

But that might be where his numbers finish up.

John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the 25-year-old right-hander had to be removed from Wednesday’s game against the Cubs after suffering a strained right lat in the middle of the fourth inning.

Cueto wound up throwing 3 2/3 scoreless frames, fanning two Cubs batters while scattering three hits.

A strained lat muscle is not a major injury and Cueto seemed to be in good spirits as he was exiting the field, but he’s likely to need over 10 days of recovery time and the regular season schedule wraps up this year on September 28 — exactly two weeks from tonight.

The Reds, currently 14 1/2 games back of the Brewers in the National League Central and 12 1/2 games back of the Braves in the Wild Card, have nothing to gain from rushing Cueto back. And they won’t rush him back.

Rays to start relievers in all three games of weekend series with Orioles

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays will start a reliever in each of the three games of the club’s weekend series at home against the Orioles. Sergio Romo will start Friday, Ryne Stanek will start Saturday, and Romo will start again Sunday. The Orioles’ starters are TBA at the moment.

This continues the trend that drew attention last weekend, resulting in Angels third baseman calling the strategy “bad for baseball.” I wrote about the potential labor impacts of this strategy as well. The Rays did it against the Angels because they had a right-hander-heavy top of the lineup and didn’t want lefty Ryan Yarbrough to have to face that top of the lineup three times.

The O’s have a righty-heavy top of the lineup as well, as various combinations of Trey Mancini, Adam Jones, Manny Machado, and Jonathan Schoop have batted 1-2-3-4 for most of the season. Romo has limited right-handers to a .702 OPS this season.