Reds ace Johnny Cueto won't be participating in the World Baseball Classic this year. However, it certainly won't be due to a lack of desire.
The team reportedly exercised their right to prevent Cueto from playing because he ended last season with an injury. Major League Baseball has a provision in place that allows franchises to do just that. Cincinnati's decision to block Cueto from the Classic undoubtedly has to do with their fear of him getting injured, which would definitely diminish their odds of securing their third playoff berth in four seasons.
You may remember that Cueto was forced to exit Game 1 of the NLDS after tossing just eight pitches against the San Francisco Giants. The diagnosis turned out to be a strained oblique and it effectively ended the right-hander's season. Cincy was eliminated from the playoffs one week later.
The 27-year-old expressed his willingness to represent his home country, but that he respected the club's decision.
"I wanted to pitch for the Dominican but the team said no. It's all right," Cueto said Thursday. "I am going to work to get ready for the season. I was ready to pitch. I'm 100 percent."
The news came as a relief for skipper Dusty Baker, and probably some Reds fans, too.
Cueto posted career-highs in wins (19) and games started (33) in 2012. He says he will be rooting for the Dominican even though he won't be donning their uniforms.
Although Cueto won't be playing in the WBC, the Reds will be represented by three other players. Brandon Phillips (United States), Alfredo Simon (Dominican Republic), and Joey Votto (Canada) have all been confirmed as participants.
Via Cincinnati Enquirer