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Bullpen session to determine Cueto's next step

Special to MLB.com

PHOENIX -- This much of Johnny Cueto's schedule is set: He will throw a bullpen session in Sacramento on Monday.

The venue for his next start, however, remains a mystery.

View Full Game Coverage

PHOENIX -- This much of Johnny Cueto's schedule is set: He will throw a bullpen session in Sacramento on Monday.

The venue for his next start, however, remains a mystery.

View Full Game Coverage

Cueto threw four scoreless innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Sacramento on Friday, with six strikeouts and one walk, and the Giants expect a decision on his next outing -- another rehab start or a return to the Majors -- after the bullpen session.

Read nothing into the fact that Cueto will do that work in Sacramento. His next start would not come until at the earliest Thursday, the day the Giants return home from a three-game series at Colorado.

"He came out of it fine, normal pitching soreness," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Saturday.

"A solid four innings. A good day's work for him. All good there on Johnny's end. In a day or so, we should have more info on when he is going to pitch again.

Cueto threw 69 pitches (44 strikes) in his Friday start, and Bochy said that load would be enough if the Majors is his next stop.

Cueto was off to a remarkable start this season, going 3-0 with an 0.84 ERA in five starts, before being placed on the disabled May 2 because of right elbow soreness. He has made two rehab appearances.

The Giants entered Saturday's game 43-40 despite receiving only 18 starts from their big three -- Madison Bumgarner, Cueto and Jeff Samardzija.

Rookie left-hander Andrew Suarez, who joined the rotation when Cueto went out, continued to make his presence felt in a bid to remain there with another strong outing Friday. He gave up one run and seven hits -- five infield hits -- in a 2-1 victory. He was 2-0 with a 2.62 ERA in six June starts.

"I'm not focused on that," Suarez said on the chances of remaining in the rotation. "I just go out and compete, and whatever happens happens. I'm not looking past that."

Lineup changes: Switch-hitter Alen Hanson started in left field for the fourth time in eight games against Arizona right-hander Shelby Miller on Saturday, a move not unexpected even after Austin Slater had three hits, including two RBI doubles, Friday.

"That's always a tough call, a guy gets three hits," Bochy said. "The last time we faced a right-hander, Hanson had the big day with two doubles."

Video: SF@ARI: Slater rips 2nd RBI double, puts Giants ahead

Hanson leads the Giants with an .895 OPS in 118 plate appearances since being promoted in late April.

"It's hard not to have [Slater] in there," Bochy said. "Slater more than likely will play tomorrow. He's not only going to play against lefties. With the versatility we have on this club -- Hanson can play different places -- [Slater] will get his playing time."

Buster Posey is likely to get a start off Sunday and will play all three games in Colorado from Monday to Wednesday. Posey is a career .379/.435/.625 slasher with 13 homers and 48 RBIs in 64 games at Coors Field.

Moronta shines: Rookie right-hander Reyes Moronta has two wins, a save and a hold in his six appearances since saving a 6-5 victory over Miami on June 20, and it has come as no surprise to Bochy.

"He's got great stuff," Bochy said. "Power arm, up to 95 [mph] with a big slider and a changeup. No, no surprise at all. He has the equipment to pitch up here, and this guy is not afraid, either. He wants to be out there. He's doing what we thought he could do."

Moronta had his fourth hold of the season while pitching a 1-2-3 seventh inning in Friday's victory.

Jack Magruder is a contributor to MLB.com based in Phoenix.

San Francisco Giants, Johnny Cueto, Alen Hanson, Reyes Moronta, Austin Slater