Johnny Cueto was scratched from tonight’s scheduled start against the Rockies and placed on the disabled list with a lat injury, leaving the Reds scrambling to find a fill-in starter. Tony Cingrani no doubt would have been the choice after pitching so well subbing for Cueto earlier this season, but he started yesterday at Triple-A.
Pedro Villarreal will make the spot start in Cueto’s place. Villarreal made his big-league debut with the Reds in September, throwing one scoreless inning in his lone appearance. This season the 25-year-old right-hander had a 5.03 ERA in 11 starts at Triple-A, serving up 13 homers in 59 innings.
As for Cueto … he has a history of lat/oblique problems, including spending a month on the DL earlier this season, and has even talked about potentially needing to adjust his mechanics to avoid further injuries. He’s been fantastic in between DL stints, going 3-0 with a 2.17 ERA in six starts, but if the past is any indication Cueto may not pitch again until after the All-Star break.
Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.
Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”
Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.
The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.