The Cincinnati Reds rotation was able to do something rare by most teams last year in having their rotation go the whole season without an injury and their five starters working 161 of 162 games. That wouldn’t be the case this year with ace Johnny Cueto being placed on the 15-day disabled list yesterday after being diagnosed with a strained right lat muscle.
Cueto had an injury back in October in Game 1 of the NLDS last season versus the Giants that kept him out the rest of the series against eventual World Series champion San Francisco, online but this injury was to his back and not the same injury. He did suffer the same injury to his right lat muscle in 2011 which forced him to miss his final four starts of that year. It’s not currently known how long Cueto will be out.
“Hopefully maybe three, see maybe four starts, treat ” Reds manager Dusty Baker told the media. “Once he does come back, he still has to get his endurance up. We’re not putting a timetable on it. We’re going to miss him. We’ll find a way to carry on.”
That the Reds will too as Cueto had already gone 1-0 with 18 strikeouts and a 2.60 ERA in 17 1/3 innings over three starts this season. He also finished fourth in balloting for the National League Cy Young Award race last season after going 19-9 with a 2.78 ERA.
The 27-year-old ace injury doesn’t come at the right time for the Reds either with the team getting off to a slow 6-7 start and coming off a 1-5 road trip that included five straight loses before they beat the Phillies yesterday at home. Definitely not the type of start the ballclub that has won two of the last three NL Central division crowns thought they would get off to.
Picked by many experts to win not only their third division crown in four years, but also to be serious World Series contenders and possibly even win the World Series the Reds have been hit by a lot of injuries here in the first month of the 2013 season. With Cueto’s injury forcing the ballclub to put their third player on the DL so far this year, joining left fielder Ryan Ludwick and lefty reliever Sean Marshall.
Something they didn’t have to deal with much of last year and a key factor in them winning the division, it’s probably better they actually get these injuries out of the way now early in the season. That way they hopefully don’t have to deal with them as much later in the season when they are trying to actually secure the division again and hopefully even eventually make noise as World Series contenders in the playoffs. Sure if you are a fan of the Reds or the team themselves you don’t want to get off to such a bad start, but how you finish the season is more important and as we all know baseball is the single sport where momentum at the end of a season can carry you all the way to capturing the World Series trophy. Last seasons Giants and the 2011 Cardinals being the most recent evident of this.