Any time a player is shipped home from Spring Training for an evaluation, it's bad news. With Johnny Cueto, we're past the stage of a "minor setbacks," and "owie boo-boos." Nonetheless, the team has been proceeding carefully with Cueto - as any team would during the spring - so it's hard to separate out the caution from the severity of the injury. They know his history of fatigue - and with potentially as many as three post-Tommy John pitchers on staff this season, the specter of an elbow injury is sure to be at the forefront of their minds. Pitching coach Bryan Price has downplayed the severity of the injury as early as this morning: "I'm not ready by any means to say he not ready to start the season." Short of a medical opinion, he might be the best source of information at this point, even if he's just trying to put a good spin on.
I don't doubt that Cueto's medical work-up prior to the final execution of his contract was thorough. Investing the amount of money the Reds did in a pitcher with somewhat unconventional mechanics, who has yet to establish a reliable thresh-hold for IP in a season, comes with all kinds of risk mitigation. What the screening may not have captured are mechanical issues that lead to serious injury. Taken with a proper training regime, sound mechanics seem to be the best way to stave off arm injury. Superficially, Cueto isn't in the same shape he was a few years a go. But this is about the level of analysis that's available to me until we hear back from the docs.
In happier news, Edinson Volquez appears to be on track to take the first start of the regular season. The team would prefer not to "Pitt" him against his Opening Day opposition, but here we are.
We'll probably see some more cuts in the next few days... Go Reds!