Johnny Cueto leaves NLDS Game 1 after eight pitches with back spasms (Video)
Cueto struck out Angel Pagan to start the game, but he was lifted after throwing two pitches to Marco Scutaro. Cueto attempted to make a pitch, but he stopped before throwing the ball and grabbed his side/back in obvious pain.
Cincinnati pulled Cueto and replaced him with third-year pitcher Sam LeCure. LeCure, who has made 10 starts during his career but has worked exclusively as a reliever this season, went 1.2 scoreless before being lifted for pinch-hitter Homer Bailey in the third.
The Reds say Cueto is day-to-day with the injury, but it’s unclear whether he will be able to return during the series. If the Reds decide to replace him on the NLDS roster, he would be ineligible for the NLCS should the Reds advance. Pitcher Mike Leake, who went 8-9 with a 4.58 ERA in 30 starts this season, would be a likely replacement if Cueto cannot pitch again in the series.
Cueto went 19-9 during the regular season and was third in the NL with a 2.78 ERA. He also left a start last September with a lat injury and was shut down for the rest of the season because of it.