Johnny Cueto has shoulder inflamation, and it will keep him from throwing from a week to 10 days. Of course with a young right arm, it could be longer than that after a 10 day period. It could be something that lags on all season. You never really know.
I remember a year ago right now, Cueto talked about how in 2008 his arm really wore down. He thought it would be a lot more ready to handle all the wear and tear of a full season’s worth of innings last season. While he was somewhat correct, the Reds were careful with him to a degree. It always stuck in my mind thought because young pitchers and arm troubles are a funny thing. Some guys never miss a start and seem to defy science. It’s like some guys who are prone to sinus infections or flu’s and some guys are just more immune. But once some arm trouble rears it’s ugly head it’s a long and complicated road.
There could be complications to this. Or it could be something positive.
We would rather have Cueto missing starts in April then in September. The NL Central is going to be a two team race. And the main competition in the Central, the Brewers; have Zach Greinke missing some time. The Reds are better prepared than the Brew crew to sustain something like this. They’ll insert Mike Leake to the rotation–and while he isn’t without his problems–he’s experienced and is more than adequate filling in until Cueto is fully ready to be back in the rotation.
If Cueto comes back rested and the arm is truly healthy, look for him to have a big year. A year of emergence and a year where he looks stronger down the stretch than you’ve ever seen him before. He’ll look like a new pitcher in August compared to past years. We could easily see a year where Cueto goes 15-5 with an era in the high 2’s. This might not be a negative, as long as he comes back healthy and the Reds can keep their head above water with the other guys until he’s back.