Found April 15, 2013 on
MLB Injury News:
The Cincinnati Reds have looked both impressive and sub-par. They have dominated and looked over-matched. Overall, they are 5-7, but it's still so early in the season the record truly doesn't matter. What does matter is staying healthy, getting a rhythm, and pushing on through April and May. So when Johnny Cueto was placed on the DL yesterday, it should have been a big blow to the team right? Maybe not.
Cueto was removed from his last start when he felt tightness in his lat. The move was deemed precautionary, but yesterday the Reds felt it was necessary to shut Cueto down completely. He was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained lat says Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. The injury should not keep Cueto out for much longer than the mandatory 15 days necessary to come off the DL. However, if he were to try to pitch through it or come back too soon, the injury could be worsened and cause further damage. A lingering lat injury could cause a pitcher to miss most of a season.
Cueto was far and a away the Reds' ace last year. He went 19-9 with a 2.78 ERA. He was snubbed and left off the All-Star team, but Cueto was clearly an All-Star caliber player. In fact, he finished fourth in National League Cy Young voting in 2012. The 27-year old has proven himself as the team's full time ace over the last three seasons. He is 61-46 with a 3.56 ERA overall in his five-plus years in the big leagues.
So how does his injury not hurt the Reds? It doesn't help them obviously, but 15 days on the DL for a pitcher equates to three starts at the most. If Cueto comes off the DL and is healthy the rest of the season, he can still start close to as many games as he did last season (33). He can certainly start more games than he did in 2011 (24). Pitchers are valuable, but the fact that they pitch every fifth day means a short stint on the DL is manageable.
WAR is not a stat that should be used in a per game view, but Cueto managed 3.7 WAR when starting just 24 games in 2011. That bodes well for the Reds. If Cueto can duplicate that, the team will still have success. He doesn't need to duplicate his 5.9 WAR from last season. And truthfully, he probably wouldn't regardless of the injury. Even with the lat strain, Cueto should fall somewhere between 2011's WAR total and 2012's total.
Missing a few starts is disappointing, but for the Reds and Cueto, it's not that big a deal in the long run. During his absence, the Reds can work on playing better more consistently.
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