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Cueto makes first rehab start for Triple-A

Giants right-hander allows one hit in 3 2/3 scoreless innings
MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- For the first time since April 28, Johnny Cueto was where he belonged on Saturday. The right-hander, who is on the disabled list with a sprained right elbow, was back on the mound for Triple-A Sacramento.

Cueto threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings for the River Cats, allowing one hit and striking out four. He threw 33 of 48 pitches for strikes.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- For the first time since April 28, Johnny Cueto was where he belonged on Saturday. The right-hander, who is on the disabled list with a sprained right elbow, was back on the mound for Triple-A Sacramento.

Cueto threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings for the River Cats, allowing one hit and striking out four. He threw 33 of 48 pitches for strikes.

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"I was really encouraged how he threw yesterday," manager Bruce Bochy said Sunday. "I thought he would be a little bit further behind. The breaking ball was really good, the changeup, and he really located the fastball well."

Cueto, who carries a 3-0 record and miniscule 0.84 ERA across five Major League starts in 2018, will likely receive two more rehab outings before rejoining the rotation. Bochy believes the imminent return of Cueto, paired with Madison Bumgarner, will give the Giants "two No. 1 guys."

"I thought when Johnny went down he was the best pitcher in baseball," Bochy said. "Madison, the way he throws, you're talking about your one-two guys, but really they're both number ones. That's going to change your rotation."

Much like his shimmying, deceptive delivery, this season has been full of twists and turns for the Cueto. In early May, he received an opinion on his elbow from Dr. James Andrews.

"I initially thought he was going to need [Tommy John] surgery," Bochy acknowledged. "It's a good thing that you do take some time and get another opinion. I think we got the better of the news, no question."

Worth noting

The versatility of Alen Hanson has been showcased throughout this weekend series against the Padres.

Bochy spoke highly of Hanson, who started in left field Saturday, then shifted to second base in the seventh, replacing Joe Panik.

"The kid's athletic," Bochy said. "He's got a lot of range too. He covers a lot of ground. But I had to do it to keep [reliever Tony] Watson in there without having [Watson] hit. I thought about doing it at third, but I felt more comfortable with [Hanson] at second."

Hanson received the start at third base Sunday. The 25-year old started at second base Friday and shortstop on Wednesday. A change of scenery with the Giants has afforded Hanson with an opportunity to make an everyday impact.

"Your opinion can get affected by earlier reports throughout the Minor Leagues," Bochy said. "New teams probably have a little more confidence to try some different stuff with you."

Martin Oppegaard is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area.

San Francisco Giants, Johnny Cueto