Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto was scratched from Wednesday’s scheduled start. Instead of taking the mound in the series finale against the Colorado Rockies, the right-hander has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with soreness in his back.
It is the second time the 27-year-old will spend time on the disabled list with the same injury this season. Cueto missed over a month (April 15 to May 19) with lat and oblique issues. In fact, the five-year player has only been able to suit up for six starts this season. Obviously, that is not what the Reds had in mind for their top starting pitcher.
Cueto dominated in his last outing in which he allowed just one hit and struck out six batters in a 6-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was reported that he began feeling discomfort in his back during the contest, but Cincinnati did not believe the injury to be serious.
The Dominican Republic native is 3-0 with a 2.17 earned run average, 0.88 WHIP and 34 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings this season. If only he could manage to stay healthy, the Reds would then be able to close in on their two and a half game gap for first place in the National League Central division.
The good news is Cincinnati has someone ready to start Wednesday night’s game. Right-hander Pedro Villarreal, who was scheduled to start for Triple-A Louisville, will make his first Major League Baseball start. The only time he spent in the majors occurred in 2012 when he struck out one batter in one inning of work.
Villarreal is 1-3 with a 5.03 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 11 starts for Triple-A Louisville in 2013.