On Friday night's series opener against the Rangers, Johnny Cueto exited at the start of the 2nd inning with tightness in his lat. This is the third time this season Cueto has been moved to the DL for the same injury, and he was knocked out of the NLDS last year as well. At this point, the recurring problem has to be an extreme worry for Cueto and the Reds, as it is imperative for him to remain healthy if the Reds want to make a deep run in the postseason. As BF has mentioned several times, the typical recovery for a lat injury in MLB is about 60 days. The Reds have considered Cueto's lat injuries to be minor as far as this injury goes, but it looks now like perhaps there is no such thing. Cueto has felt fine upon returning in each of the previous three occasions, only to have the injury problem resurface within a handful of starts afterward. I am not sure how you hold your ace back from pitching when by all indications he feels fine and recovered, but it's also clear that something has to be done differently to ensure that Cueto does not make two or three starts and have this come back yet again. I really don't know what the Reds can or should do here.
The bullpen has been awaiting reinforcements for some time now, but help is still not on the horizon. Sean Marshall designated a three-weeks-at-most timetable for his own return, but that was a little over two weeks ago and he is not particularly close to coming back yet. Jonathan Broxton has not yet begun throwing either, so he is still farther away. Nick Masset's recovery has been a roller coaster of slow progress interspersed with setbacks. He hopes to return this season, but can certainly not be counted on. He has thrown some bullpen sessions, but has felt the problems resurface afterwards and has not pitched in games for a year and a half.
For a bit of good news, Chris Heisey made his return to the Reds as expected on Tuesday, June 25. He has a .900 OPS in his first three games back, which is nice (but only 10 PAs). With Derrick Robinson and Xavier Paul both struggling pretty bad since the calendar flipped to June, and Lutz needing more regular work in the minors, the Reds need Heisey to hit like he has shown the ability to do before, helping the lineup and the bench.
In the minor leagues, AAA Louisville starting pitcher depth option Armando Galarraga was placed on the 7-day DL retroactive to June 26 with a sprained elbow. The Bats also released Mark Prior. In A- Dayton, SS Zach Vincej was placed in the 7-day DL on June 28. As the only potentially viable SS in the system most likely, let's hope it is not too serious an injury. OF Jon Matthews disappeared from the roster and no longer appears to be in the Reds system. It would be unfortunate and sad if his injury essentially ended his baseball career before it began. At Rookie league affiliate Billings, pitchers Dan Langfield and Nick Routt were both placed on the 7-day DL on June 20.
As always, keep up with Reds and MiLB affiliate injuries via the injury spreadsheet.