Reds pick Cueto to start opener
Friday, March 28, 2014 11:00 AM
GOODYEAR, Ariz. - Johnny Cueto is set to start on opening day for the Cincinnati Reds for the third straight season.
First-year manager Bryan Price said Thursday that Cueto will pitch Monday at home against St. Louis.
Price had to sort through a series of minor injuries, including Cueto's tender right shoulder, before making the final determination. Cueto missed a turn this spring because of soreness.
"When Johnny's been healthy, he's been our No. 1 starter, legitimately for the previous four years," Price said. "Keeping him healthy is the key. He only made 11 starts for us last year. Yesterday, I had him long toss. I asked him how he felt after it then made the decision."
Tony Cingrani will pitch the second game. He was the only starter in the rotation without an injury issue this spring.
Homer Bailey was skipped with a sore right groin and Mike Leake had slight pain in his abdomen. Bailey will start the final game of Cardinal series. Leake will start the first game in New York.
Mat Latos will miss at least one start after minor elbow and knee surgery. Alfredo Simon will start the fifth game in New York against the Mets.
Brett Marshall is slowed by a strained tendon in his middle finger, and he will see a hand specialist in Phoenix today.
Marshall and Devin Mesoraco may join Aroldis Chapman; Jonathan Broxton, who pitched in a minor league game today; Sean Marshall; Latos; Jack Hannahan and Skip Schumaker on the disabled list.
Mesoraco hasn't played in 10 days with a strained oblique.
"Devin has to play. He has to catch, throw, hit and run. It is unlikely that he will join us but we haven't signed off on putting him on the disabled list," Price said.
Meanwhile, Cingrani pitched seven solid innings, Billy Hamilton hit two triples and the Reds topped the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-1 Thursday in a split-squad game.
Both players will be on a major league roster for the first time.
"I'm beyond excited. It is a dream come true," said Cingrani, who hadn't had a chance to call home with the news.
"It is unbelievable for me and Billy. I played with Billy a lot" in the minors. "It will be unbelievable for both of us."
The 24-year old left-hander allowed one run and five hits, including a homer by Nick Evans. Cingrani walked one but picked off two runners.
"Cingrani is the confident kind. He's not emotionally fragile," Price said.
Hamilton also singled. The speedster is expected to be in the opening day lineup, leading off in center field.
Hamilton almost hit his second homer of the spring. His drive bounced high off the wall and got past right fielder Jordan Parraz, and Hamilton took a wide turn at third but held.
On-deck batter Brandon Phillips was jumping up and down, waving on Hamilton.
"He's been terrific," Price said. "His approach has been impeccable. He has kept the ball out of the air except for two sacrifice flies he hit the other day. His defense has been impeccable, too."
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