SAN FRANCISCO -- Right-hander Johnny Cueto threw a 45-pitch bullpen session Wednesday, and he could rejoin the Giants' rotation as soon as the first week in August.Cueto has been on the disabled list since July 15 because of blisters on multiple fingers on his pitching hand, an issue that has
SAN FRANCISCO -- Right-hander Johnny Cueto threw a 45-pitch bullpen session Wednesday, and he could rejoin the Giants' rotation as soon as the first week in August.
Cueto has been on the disabled list since July 15 because of blisters on multiple fingers on his pitching hand, an issue that has lingered with the 2016 All-Star. He lasted only four innings in his most recent start, against San Diego on July 14, when blisters forced him out. Cueto was placed on the DL the following day.
After weeks of frustration and minor setbacks, Cueto's outing before the Giants' series finale against the Pirates was a welcomed sign. Manager Bruce Bochy said that Cueto threw all of his pitches without problems, and he will throw again on Friday before the team decides what to do next.
"He's going to throw again and see how his fingers come out of that," Bochy said. "After that, if all is well, then he should be able to pitch. The question is what day. Sunday might be pushing it a little bit, to be honest."
Bochy didn't rule out the possibility of sending Cueto on a rehab assignment before coming off the DL. If not, Bochy indicated Cueto could be back in the rotation when the Giants return from their upcoming five-game road trip on Aug. 2.
"I don't know for sure if that's going to happen," Bochy said. "Obviously it's a possibility, but if all goes well Friday, he could be ready once we get back."
San Francisco also received encouraging news on closer Mark Melancon, sidelined since June 28 with a right pronator strain. Melancon threw 30 pitches in a bullpen session Wednesday, and he is scheduled to throw again this weekend while the Giants are in Los Angeles to play the Dodgers, although the team hasn't decided whether he will face hitters.
"Then after that, if all goes well, [there's] a very good possibility he could start a rehab [assignment]," Bochy said.
• Outfielder Carlos Moncrief was called up from Triple-A Sacramento, taking the roster spot of infielder Eduardo Nunez, who was traded to Boston a day earlier. Bochy said that Moncrief will mostly be used as a pinch-hitter.
Michael Wagaman is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area.