Cueto heads to injured list with lat strain

April 16th, 2021

The Giants on Friday placed right-hander on the 10-day injured list with a Grade 1 lat strain, and right-hander Camilo Doval was recalled from the alternate training site.

Cueto suffered the injury in the sixth inning of the Giants’ 3-0 win over the Reds on Wednesday afternoon at Oracle Park. The 35-year-old veteran breezed through 5 2/3 innings on 68 pitches, but he tweaked his back after striking out Nick Castellanos on a 93.5 mph fastball in the sixth.

Cueto’s injury is a blow to the Giants’ starting rotation, which has posted a 2.78 ERA this season. Cueto’s resurgence was a big reason for that success, as he had logged a 1.80 ERA over his first three starts of the year.

“Ultimately, if he has to miss some time, those are shoes that are going to be difficult to fill,” manager Gabe Kapler said on Wednesday.

The most obvious candidate to replace Cueto in the rotation will be right-hander Logan Webb. The Giants had initially planned to move Webb to the bullpen to open up a spot in the rotation for left-hander Alex Wood, who is expected to be activated off the IL and start against the Marlins on Sunday, but Webb is now likely to remain a part of the starting staff while Cueto is out.

Webb threw 11 pitches while working a scoreless seventh on Wednesday, and Kapler said the Giants were conservative with his usage to keep him ready to step back into the rotation if needed. The 24-year-old was nearly untouchable during Spring Training, but he allowed six runs over 10 1/3 innings in his first two starts of the year.

“We had told ourselves that we were going to be extremely disciplined with Webb,” Kapler said. “We weren’t even sure we were going to use him until before the game. We talked about it a little bit and talked with Webby and decided to give him one inning. That was going to be work for him to get him ready for the Miami series. We were going to be strict to give him one inning of work. … If it turns out that he needs to hop back into the starting rotation, we have that flexibility now because he only went one inning.”