Saturday, April 13, 2013

Johnny Cueto leaves game early due to injury

The injury bug continues to bite hard around baseball this week as Reds ace Johnny Cueto was forced to leave Saturday's game against the Pirates with an apparent injury to his throwing arm.

The injury seemed to have occurred in the fifth inning after Cueto delivered a strike out pitch to Pirates third basemen Pedro Alvarez. Cueto could be seen grimacing immediately following the pitch, and subsequently began stretching and rubbing the back of his arm, most likely his right triceps area.

The right-hander threw one more pitch before summoning a trainer, his teammates, and manager Dusty Baker to the mound for further investigation. Cueto attempted to stay in the game by delivering a warm-up throw to home plate, but felt enough discomfort to warrant giving the ball to Baker, and then headed for the clubhouse. 

It is unclear what the extent of the injury is at this moment in time.

Cueto, 27, has a recent track record of being sidelined by injury. He missed the first month of the 2011 season due to an ailing shoulder and was shut down later on in September due to a strained muscle in his back. Cueto stayed healthy throughout the 2012 regular season until suffering a strained oblique after tossing just eight pitches in Game 1 of the NLDS. That injury essentially ended what had been a fantastic year for him.

Cueto becomes yet another star player in MLB to get hurt this week. Angels ace Jered Weaver, Dodgers hurler Zack Greinke, Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes, and A's outfielder Yoenis Cespedes have also suffered notable injuries over the last seven days.

Southpaw Tony Cingrani is the likely choice to replace Cueto in the starting rotation if in fact the latter will be required to miss playing time. Cingrani is currently stifling hitters at Triple-A Louisville. Cingrani has yet to allow an earned run in any of his three starts (12.1 IP) this season. Additionally, the 23-year-old has allowed just three hits and two walks against a whopping 21 strike outs.

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