How Long Before Dusty Baker Ruins Johnny Cueto?

In case you missed it Thursday, Reds rookie Johnny Cueto was rather impressive making his major league debut. The 22-year-old was perfect through his first five innings before giving up a solo HR to Justin Upton in the 6th, the only base-runner he allowed all game. Cueto went seven innings of one-run, one-hit ball, striking out 10 for the win. Needless to say, Johnny Cueto was nothing short of dominant. One problem, however. Given the fact that Cincinnati now has a new manager with a track record of abusing young arms, it didn’t take long for my man Pat Lackey to develop Cueto’s timeline to Tommy John. Check it out:

April 3rd- Dominant debut
May 27th- 14 strikeouts against the Pirates, Dusty ramps his pitch count to 125 to close out the 2-hitter. Some fans grumble, but are quickly given the evil eye.
June 15th- His first 130 pitch outing against the Red Sox
June 20th- His second 130 pitch outing against the Blue Jays
July 27th- “twinge” in his elbow
August 17th- Tommy John surgery
August 18th- FireDustyBaker.com gets one million hits

I’m not sure what was more impressive: Cueto’s debut, or Lackey’s timeline. Sad thing is, I think we’re looking at a realistic situation. These days it’s a surprise if a pitcher makes it through the first three-four years of his career without needing TJ surgery. What happened to the old days when they used to let pitcher’s throw with arms swollen like basketballs? Guess Dusty longs for those days.

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  • JS

    Geez, Larry, I had the very same thought.

    I will forever wonder why the f*ck Mark Prior was pitching in the 8th inning of Game 2 of the 2003 NLCS with the Cubs ahead by 10 runs.

    And I don’t intend to complain about a good LB column here, but can’t you get an updated photo of Johnny B?

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  • SpinMax

    I don’t think it’s going to be an issue as with others. The guys who tend to get hurt are the ones who see drastic increases in their innings pitched…like 40 or 50 or more. I would think they’ll keep him between 125 and 150 innings this year assuming no injuries or hiccups

    As for Cueto, these are his IP in the minors
    2004 76
    2005 49
    2006 148
    2007 162

  • http://larrybrownsports.com Larry Brown

    7 innings in his first start isn’t a good jumping off point.

  • AMcClary

    Lots of people have your concern, but it’s not just innings that you have to look at. Cueto was pulled at 92 pitches. Over seven innings, that a pretty efficient pitch count. Volquez was pulled yesterday in the sixth after reaching 95 pitches. Someone is paying attention.

    Hopefully the Reds b-pen is strong enough that Baker doesn’t have to have either of these guys go 120 pitches into the 8th in order to get a win.

    We’ll see, though, won’t we?

  • Jack88

    LarryBrown- When you you allow one only hit and zero walks, 7 innings is not a long outing.

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