Johnny Cueto departs Game 1 of NLDS due to back spasms

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Brutal development for the Reds out in San Fran.

Staff ace Johnny Cueto was lifted from Saturday night’s NLDS Game 1 against the Giants just eight pitches in after appearing to tweak his side or back on a delivery to No. 2 hitter Marco Scutaro.

Cueto immediately hunched over after the toss and walked off the field alongside two trainers without making much of an argument. It’s safe to wonder whether he’s done for the rest of the postseason.

Sam LeCure, who posted a 3.14 ERA in 57 1/3 regular-season innings, took the mound in his place.

Cueto had a 2.78 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 170/49 K/BB ratio in 33 starts this year for the NL Central champs.

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UPDATE, 10:14 PM: Cueto has been diagnosed with back spasms and is merely listed as day-to-day. Considering how bad the situation looked initially, this seems like promising news for the Reds.

Cubs to activate Craig Kimbrel on Thursday

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The Cubs will activate reliever Craig Kimbrel ahead of Thursday afternoon’s game against the Braves, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic reports.

Kimbrel, 31, ended a seven-month stint in free agency, agreeing to a three-year, $43 million contract with the Cubs earlier this month. He has made four minor league appearances, allowing one earned run on two hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.

With an aggregate 3.96 ERA entering Wednesday, the Cubs’ bullpen has been among the better bullpens in the league. Adding Kimbrel, one of the greatest closers of all-time, certainly can’t hurt and will give them some stability in save situations.