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Cueto \'cutting\' a new path | The Real McCoy | Cincinnati Reds baseball news

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Cueto ‘cutting’ a new path

SALT RIVER AT TALKING STICK, Ariz. — Adam Eaton, Arizona’s leadoff batter Monday against the Cincinnati Reds saw something he’d never seen when Johnny Cueto threw him a mysterious-looking pitch.

Eaton jerked his head up after the ball whistled by, looked at Cueto and said, “Nice pitch. Nice cutter, man.”

A cutter? It’s a pitch Cueto has worked on since last mid-season, but hasn’t used much in games. He is about to spring it on National League hitters this year and Eaton received a prelude and gave it five stars.

“Not only is it a good cutter, he throws it hard,” said former Reds pitching star Mario Soto, who witnessed it first hand Monday. “He’s very happy with it. It is working real well and it gives him another pitch in his repertoire.”

As if he needs it.

“I taught it to myself,” said Cueto after he held the Diamondbacks one run and two hits in three innings of 55-pitch work. “I’ll be using it more this year.”

Unfortunately for the Reds, they lost again and lost ugly, 7-2. Four of Arizona’s runs were unearned due to three Cincinnati errors and the Reds had only six hits, two in the ninth. Zack Cozart gave the Reds a 1-0 lead in the first with a long, long home run to the top of a grassy knoll behind the left field wall.

“We didn’t play a very good game,” said manager Dusty Baker. “We didn’t play a good defensive game. Most of their runs accounted for on errors and we don’t usually do that.”

AND IF IT looks as if Cueto is trimmer this spring, well, he is. For now. It isn’t going to stay that way (or weigh).

When he won 19 games last year he weighed 214, but he reported to camp at 207 and now is at 206 ¬— and not pleased about it.

“I felt better at 214,” he said. “I feel good at 214. I’m going to get back to 214, eat rice and beans, every day.”

Cueto made some Cincinnati hearts pop into mouths in the first inning when he tried to field a ball near first base and throw off-balance to home plate. He went down in a 206-pound heap, bringing out the medical staff and Dusty Baker. But he stayed in.

“I just slipped,” he said. “I’m OK. I just didn’t want that run to score.” But it scored.

CUETO ALSO unexpectedly had to bat after a heated discussion at home plate before the game between managers Dusty Baker and Kirk Gibson.

If both teams agree, even two National League teams can use the designated hitter in spring training. And Baker brought Shin-Soo Choo to Salt River, planning to let him gets some at-bats at DH. He didn’t want him playing in the outfield while his hamstring remains tight.

But when the Reds arrived at the park Gibson sent word that Gibson wanted his pitcher, Brandon McCarthy to bat, even though it would be only one at-bat.

Some pointed words were tossed back and forth and when Gibson proffered hlis hand, Baker refused to shake it and stalked off.

“We didn’t have a very pleasant encounter at home plate,” said Baker. “That’s ow it goes. It’s over. Hey, man, he wanted his pitcher to hit and I wanted Choo to DH. He sent over word that’s what they wanted to do. It would have been fine with me to do both, but they accepted what the home team wanted to do.”

Said Gibson, “Just locker room stuff, that’s all. We wanted to play a National League game and they wanted to do it their way.” Gibson said the Reds knew before they got here that the DH wouldn’t be used, “But they sent a lineup card with one on it anyway.”

When Cueto batted, he never took the bat off his shoulder and was called out on strikes. “I wasn’t allowed to swing, they told me no,” he said. “Spring training.”

Permalink | Comments (14) | Post your comment |


By Ouch That Hurts

March 10, 2013 12:46 AM | Link to this

Don't stick it in that deep.

By John Walk

March 8, 2013 5:19 AM | Link to this

It might be a could idea to not include Cueto and the word "Cutting" in the same headline, based on Cueto's spike kicking history.

By Cait

March 7, 2013 4:01 PM | Link to this

@bsvr, an astute observation, actually. Obviously we don’t know if Gibson or Rolen would have still played baseball and become major leaguers, but the fact that fewer kids are multi-sport athletes is a sad commentary to the emphasis we put on sports. With the AAU circuit and the mandatory off-season training most high school teams have, a kid often has to choose one sport to specialize in. I don’t see how this is good for the kids’ mental or physical health or their future chances for the few pro-sports careers available. Other multi-sport stars come to mind, few of them recent stars: Dave Winfield, Bo Jackson, Todd Helton, Barry Larkin.

By Milo French

March 7, 2013 5:01 AM | Link to this

Updike, are you actually suggesting Larue as you staed “put his face in front of Cueto’s spikes.” Larue was shoved back to the screen, just like everyone else. And some men in the process got shoved to the ground. Cueto had absolutely no right to do what he did. He’s lucky he wasn’t charged with criminal assault. Go out on the streets of Cincinnati or Dayton, and kick someone in the face until you cause them to get stitches in their lips, and a concussion. See then if you’re not arrested and criminally charged. Could you imagine Pete Rose doing something so cowardly, had he been placed in the same situation. Blaming Larue for having his face in the way of Cueto’s spikes, is a pretty lame, new, and creative excuse for Cueto. It’s also one of the silliest remarks I’ve ever read on this site.

By John C Updike

March 5, 2013 3:25 PM | Link to this

Mitch, first off … the spiking incident was 3 years ago. People grow up and move on. That might be in your best interest. Second, when Cueto pitched to ONE batter in the playoffs, it’s hard to accuse anybody of anything. Unless of course you think an oblique muscle is no big deal for a pitcher. As far as you being a fan of any team, Reds fans have gotten used to the ongoing “spiking” episode. I notice that the smart players tend to not put their head in front of somebody’s spikes … those guys go to the outfield and graze while the brawls go on. So LaRue can be accused of being stupid. As for the comments about Phillips, funny how the racism just doesn’t end, does it?

By Gary Maloy Jr.

March 5, 2013 1:19 PM | Link to this

Seems to me, the gamesmanship exhibited by Kirk Gibson, was if nothing else - childish. Oh sure, he could decide whatever he wanted as the manager of the home team. But good lord, it’s a spring training game. Who cares if one team uses a DH or not? As someone else wrote, Gibson knows that Cueto is coming off an injury, and I can only assume he knows that Choo is coming back from a minor setback as well. Why Gibson chose to be a jack@$$, who knows. I think Dusty did what he could at short notice to avoid risking Choo’s hamstring and Cueto re-tearing his oblique by taking a mighty rip - and being fooled by - an offspeed pitch. Looking for the season to start. Let’s get the bats warm, boys. It’s time to stretch our World Series game winning streak to 13!

By bsvr

March 5, 2013 12:07 PM | Link to this

Kirk Gibson is a great example of an athlete who would probably not be playing baseball in this era. He was a great football player in his day (Michigan State) and just kind of played around with baseball. He was discovered by an area baseball scout when he watched him launch batting practice homeruns into the next county. In this day and age, he would have been required to spend 12 months a year getting ready to play football. The same could be argued for Rolen who was a great basketball player in high school in Indiana and was runner up for Mr. Basketball there. In today's athletic world he would have been playing basketball all year round and not played baseball.

By dwick_OR

March 5, 2013 11:22 AM | Link to this

Don’t disagree that this Dusty vs Kirk Gibson thing was just an overblown playground episode of boys being boys. But being as there was one out, nobody on base, and thus no call for a sacrifice bunt, I’d say by keeping the bat on Cueto’s shoulder Dusty zeroed out the risk of possibly his best and likely Opening Day starting pitcher already coming off an oblique strain perhaps injuring it again by needlessly swinging the bat in an otherwise meaningless early ST game.

By StuttgartTim

March 5, 2013 7:38 AM | Link to this

I’ve never been a Kirk Gibson fan. There was never enough mustard for him. However, if he did in fact notify Baker in advance that the DH would not be used, Dusty has no room to complain. It is the home team’s call. Period. Personally, I think either team should be able to do what they want in ST, but that is not the rule. And what did Dusty accomplish by having Cueto hold the bat on his shoulder for 3 strikes?

By dwick_OR

March 5, 2013 5:33 AM | Link to this

Funny… I looked up, down, and all over the Baseball Reference website and couldn’t find that this Mitch Severenson ever played or managed at any level of organized professional baseball. So his comment here is just further proof of the old saw about what opinions are like and that everybody has one.

By dwick_OR

March 5, 2013 5:32 AM | Link to this

Funny… I looked up, down, and all over the Baseball Reference website and couldn’t find that this Mitch Severenson ever played or managed at any level of organized professional baseball. So his comment here is just further proof of the old saw about what opinions are like and that everybody has one.

By Mitch Severenson

March 5, 2013 12:29 AM | Link to this

It’s comical how most of you believe Cueto is the best thing since sliced bread. But he and most of his teammates, have proven nothing in the big games that matter most. Nor has their manager, Dusty Baker, who seems to have made a career specializing in close but no cigar. Baker has at least on 3 occasions with 3 different clubs, had more than enough talent to win a title. If only guys like Cueto and Phillips, were as good as their self-proclaimed over the top billing, the Reds would have added a few titles to their legacy. Cueto showed his character as a man and human being, the day he like a scared girl scout, kicked and screamed and wet his pants during a bench clearing brawl with the Cardinals. No, I’m not a Cardinal fan, like so many of you halfwits will now suggest. You don’t have to be a Cardinal to see Cueto, Phillips, Baker, and the Reds don’t have what it takes to get the job done. The Giants and Cardinals have both proven in recent years, a team united with one sole purpose, can be limitless in their achievements. It’s a combination of both character and talent that gets you the ring. In the Reds case, the talent is not the part that is lacking.

By Brad

March 4, 2013 7:31 PM | Link to this

That is real shady of Gibson. He knew Cueto was coming back from injury. No reason for pitchers to be batting this early. It’s just ridiculous!!!!!!!

By Mesa Bill

March 4, 2013 7:01 PM | Link to this

You are right Hal, I thought Cueto was hurt when he went down. But, the play he tried to make was an example of his competitiveness, get the lead runner. Cozarts blast was mammoth, SS's aren't supposed to hit a ball that far. Too bad be booted a DP ball that lead to a DBacks run . Get all the bad plays over now.

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