SF Giants starter Johnny Cueto was projected to miss all of 2019 after undergoing Tommy John Surgery. Could the RHP return ahead of schedule?
In August of last season, Johnny Cueto was pulled from his start due to elbow pain. After more evaluation, it was deemed necessary that he have Tommy John surgery, missing the rest of the 2018 season and likely all of the 2019 season. However, on Saturday, SF Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Cueto had “surprised” the Giants with how well he was moving along.
Despite Bochy saying, “you’ve got a believe he’ll be pitching before the season is over,” he wouldn’t make much of an impact. The Giants have an 18-25 record and are currently in last place in the NL West.
More from Call to the Pen
- Philadelphia Phillies, ready for a stretch run, bomb St. Louis Cardinals
- Philadelphia Phillies: The 4 players on the franchise’s Mount Rushmore
- Boston Red Sox fans should be upset over Mookie Betts’ comment
- Analyzing the Boston Red Sox trade for Dave Henderson and Spike Owen
- 2023 MLB postseason likely to have a strange look without Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals
Best case scenario, with Cueto, would be just to get him some game action in order to get back into major league ready mode, but it also makes sense to hold him out the season regardless. He is going to be vital to the teams immediate future, and the Giants need him to be healthy.
Before the 2016 season, the Giants signed Cueto to a six-year, $130 million deal. He was terrific in his first season in San Francisco, helping them reach the playoffs. In his 32 starts, Cueto posted a 2.79 ERA and an 8.1 K/9 in 219 2/3 innings, with five complete games.
His 144 ERA+ was sixth best in the National League. After that season, he looked like he was going to be worth every penny, but then the injuries started to pile up.
He made his first 19 starts in 2017, pitching 115 2/3 innings to the tune of a 4.59 ERA and 103 strikeouts. However, he was hurt with a mild flexor strain in between his July 14 and September 1 starts. In his final six starts, he threw 31 1/3 innings and posted a 4.26 ERA and 33 strikeouts.
Then, in 2018, he made only nine starts. in 53 innings, he only struck out 38 batters but had a 3.23 ERA.
It’s already a lost season for the SF Giants. There are rumors swirling that their ace, Madison Bumgarner, could be dealt at the deadline, or even in the offseason. The Giants need Johnny Cueto to come back healthy in 2020 if that’s the case, because he will need to be their number one starter.