Johnny Cueto’s minor-league rehab assignment is over after two starts at Single-A and John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that he’ll come off the disabled list to start for the Reds on Monday.
Cueto allowed one run in eight innings while rehabbing, striking out eight and walking zero, so he certainly seems ready to return after sitting out a month with lat and oblique injuries.
No word yet on who’ll be bumped from the Reds’ rotation. Based on merit it would be Mike Leake, who has a 4.32 ERA in seven starts and wasn’t much good last season. Based on veteran-ness Leake might stick around, in which case rookie left-hander Tony Cingrani could lose his spot despite being extremely impressive with a 2.89 ERA and 37/7 K/BB ratio in 28 innings.
The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.
The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.
Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.