Reds unsure if starter Cueto can go Tuesday
CINCINNATI (AP) -- The Reds aren't sure whether right-hander Johnny Cueto will be able to start as planned on Tuesday because of a blister on the index finger of his pitching hand.
The first-place Reds aren't used to worrying about a starter. Cincinnati has used only five different starters, the first time in modern franchise history that it's gone this deep into the season with its rotation intact.
Cueto was supposed to start on Sunday night against the St. Louis Cardinals, but was pushed back two days after he developed the blister during a bullpen session. He swapped places with Homer Bailey, who was moved up to Sunday's game. The current plan is to have Cueto pitch against Arizona on Tuesday.
Manager Dusty Baker was waiting to see how Cueto's finger responds to treatment before deciding whether to consider other options for next Tuesday's game.
"We don't know what the backup plan is yet," Baker said before Sunday night's game. "We haven't even discussed one."
Cueto is the Reds' top starter. He leads the staff with 10 wins, and his 2.39 ERA ranks third in the National League.
The right-hander also had a blister problem during the 2010 season, but managed to keep pitching. The Reds were cautious with him for a couple of games, limiting his pitch count to let the finger heal.
They're hoping they can do the same thing again -- get Cueto through the blister without having to have him miss a start.
"It depends on how quickly his body heals," Baker said. "Some guys, it's like they can grow skin overnight."
The Reds had won five in a row heading into Sunday's game, pulling them into a first-place tie with Pittsburgh in the NL Central.