Johnny Cueto sharp in rehab start, says he’s ready to return

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C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer was with the Low-A Dayton Dragons on Tuesday night to take in Johnny Cueto’s latest minor league rehab start. And he reported back promising news.

Cueto allowed no runs and just three hits over five innings against an affiliate of the Tigers, issuing no walks and fanning four. He threw 58 pitches — 39 for strikes — and then rattled off another 23 deliveries in the Fifth Third Field bullpen after exiting the game.

“Yeah, I’m feeling ready,” Cueto told Rosecrans in the Dayton Dragons clubhouse afterward. “I worked all my pitches like I would have had to in a real game. I approached it like a normal game.”

Cueto has been on the disabled list since April 15 with a strained right lat. He is hoping to return to the Reds’ rotation at some point early next week. Mike Leake or Tony Cingrani will be demoted to make room.

Giants activate Hunter Strickland

Hunter Strickland
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Giants reliever Hunter Strickland has been activated from the 60-day disabled list, the club announced Saturday. In a corresponding move, third baseman Pablo Sandoval was shifted to the 60-day disabled list, where he’ll remain for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on his right hamstring. Right-handed reliever Dereck Rodriguez has also been placed on the 10-day disabled list after suffering a hamstring strain during Tuesday’s brawl against the Dodgers.

Strickland, 29, had been shelved with a fractured right hand since mid-June. The right-hander sustained the injury after punching a door and underwent surgery to repair the fifth metacarpal in his pitching hand. He only missed the minimum after making a speedy recovery, however, and finished his recent rehab stint with 5 2/3 innings of two-run, 10-strikeout ball for the Giants’ rookie, High-A and Triple-A affiliates.

Prior to the incident, Strickland logged 13 saves in 28 opportunities with a 2.84 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 in 34 appearances. According to comments from club skipper Bruce Bochy, the Giants don’t plan on wasting any time before deploying their former closer, but will make him available in high-leverage situations as soon as possible. It’s worth noting, too, that the team still has a viable closer in lefty reliever Will Smith, who picked up 10 saves and engineered a 3.10 ERA, 1.8 BB/9 and 12.8 SO/9 in 20 1/3 innings since Strickland landed on the DL this summer.