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John Fay
John Fay has been the Reds beat writer for the Enquirer since 2001. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Enquirer: backup Reds writer, UC beat writer, backup Bengals writer and as a general assignment reporter. He is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and the University of Dayton.

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Friday, March 7, 2008

Bucs 13, Reds 8: The Cueto Report

Johnny Cueto made his first start and was as billed. He threw strikes. His line: 3 IP, 1 hit, no runs, no walks, 4 strikeouts. Very, very impressive.

"That kid's got some (stuff)," Ken Griffey Jr. said. "Some other guys are going to turn it up, especially somebody wearing No. 34. Competition is a good thing."

Homer Bailey is No. 34.

The rest of the Reds pitchers weren't so good. The Pirates ended up pounding the Reds 13-8, breaking the three-game wininng streak.

But Cueto was the story. Javier Valentin translated for Johnny Cueto but was asked his opinion of Cueto's best pitch. He said his change-up.

"If you have that kind of change-up, welcome to the big leagues," Valentin said.
"He's the next Pedro Martinez."

Cueto was pitching at 93-94. But he hit 97 at least once. His slider was 83-87, and his out pitch, the change-up, was in the 70s.

Here's a little of Cueto, through Valentin.

When asked if he expects to start in the big leagues...
“Yeah, that’s why I’m here,” Cueto said. “If I have the chance to start the
season in the big leagues, I’m going to. And if I’ll play, I’ll be happy.”

Did you do anything different today?
“I feel good, I feel comfortable. I tried some stuff. I didn’t to anything
specific to impress, to prove to anybody. I threw the way I’m used to throwing.”

What have you learned from Francisco Cordero and Mario Soto?
“I’m working low, strike zone low, and that’s what Mario and Cordero talk to me

Did you reach your pitch limit today?
“No. I stayed short.”

Cueto threw 15 more pithes in the bullpen to get his work in.

Richie Gardner got lit up in the fourth. He only retired one batter and was charged with seven runs. Scott Sauerbeck was other big victim. He gave up four runs.

Cueto's first: Nate McLouth: Called strike, foul, taken third strike. Jack Wilson: Foul ball, ball, swinging strike. 5-3. Freddie Sanchez: Ball, foul, taken strike, punch single to right. Jason Bay: Called strike, ball, flyout to left. 14 pitches/11 strikes.

The Pirates started John Van Benschoten, the right-hander from Milford and Kent State. Not a good start for him. Scott Hatteberg singled, Ken Griffey Jr. walked, and Brandon Phillips hit a home run.

Second inning from Cueto was more on the same. Adam LaRoche broke his bat on a first pitch groundout. Ronny Paulino and Steve Pearce each struck out. 12 pitches, eight strikes.

Cueto's third: Neil Walker strikeout swinging. Luis Rivas 4-3. McLouth soft liner to 3. 11 pitches, seven strikes.

It was 82 degrees at first pitch, but it's extremely windy. The forecast for the second game tonight is not good.


at 1:20 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


Whats the chance of Cueto making the rotation? I think he will end up being the best of the Reds young pitchers.

at 1:33 PM Anonymous Heisey fan in Hershey said...

John.....I know....I know....still early....but does Cueto have a chance, in your opinion, to make the rotation if he continues to impress and others do not. Also, if there is now radio broadcast at all, are you allowed then to blog inning by inning. Thanks.

at 1:38 PM Anonymous Heisey fan in Hershey said...

John, totally off the subject..but as my name suggests, I am a BIG fan of Chris Heisey. He is my best friends nephew, and of course I am have been following him closely. I have been reading some very encouraging reports about him, and just wondering if you have ever heard his name before.

at 1:40 PM Anonymous Bob Loblaw said...

I envy John for his ability to see these young guys on a daily basis. Although Maloney is obviously either crapping himself nervous or is having a Rick Ankiel moment, the trio of Bailey, Volquez, and Cueto have gotten off to a pretty solid start. I would say Cueto has the best control out of all of the young guys and his stuff is excellent. Volquez is the oldest at 24. I would think that all 3 will make the roster, Cueto and Bailey in the rotation and Volquez in the pen.

at 1:40 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds like Cueto has moved up the pecking order in front of Homer. Do you agree? Is there anyway to keep this kid off the roster? Or do you see him at AAA and we'll wait until Fogg and Affeldt put us 5 games back of first.

at 1:46 PM Anonymous Bob Loblaw said...

I don't think there is any way Affeldt can pitch himself into the rotation. He has been very mediocre this spring, and actually lucky he hasn't given up more runs. He should be solid in the pen though. Volquez will have to make the roster, considering what we gave up to get him. Fogg is signed at 1 million, so he'll be a nice back-up plan, but at that salary we won't be compelled to put him in the rotation.

at 1:47 PM Anonymous Dave said...


You're doing a great job. I like how you have updates through out the day. I feel very informed with what's going on in spring training. Keep up the great work.

at 1:48 PM Anonymous NVreds said...

I really like this kid, this guy has command and stuff, bailey/volquez have some questions command being the largest concern for both. I'm preparing myself for none of them to be in the rotation, which I'm somewhat more ok with compared to other fans.

at 1:49 PM Anonymous NVreds said...

Dave, well said. I would like to echo his praise.

at 1:58 PM Blogger John Fay said...

It's one outing so I don't want to make too much of it. But Cueto has nasty stuff. Sick stuff. He's got to have a shot at the rotation.

Yes, to answer the question, he can make the rotation.

at 1:58 PM Blogger Laura said...

I got to see Cueto in Dayton (in relief, I believe). One heck of a pitcher, even at Single-A. His stuff was electric. Excited to hear he's doing so well!

at 2:05 PM Anonymous Red Faced said...

Everyone's right John, you do a super job. I feel connected to the team and spring training a bit and in the past it's always been the same. Not to mention the underlying stories that the average fan just doesn't hear about.

I've been saying it since late last year, Cueto is THE REAL DEAL. Saw him in Louisville a few times. I don't see him making the roster out of spring but man o man I can't wait until he gets called up, not that he doesn't deserve to make the roster but it doesn't always work out the way it should.

at 2:13 PM Anonymous Stan Spencer said...

John, One thing I havn't heard anything about is the possibility of trading Arroyo to make room for one of the young studs. On the average over his two years here, Arroyo has been just that...average. Maybe he could be packaged with Freel/Hatteberg type of deal and bring in a true lead off hitter or more top line prospects.

at 2:15 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reds management is going to have a lot of tough decisions to make. Cueto should not be one of them. And for all you wanting a Cliff Lee trade - he didn't even make it ouf of the first inning today and his ERA is over 10. I'm happy with what we have. Now we'll just see if the Reds really want to win, or if money and contracts dictate the pitching staff. If money makes the decisions, Reds will struglle early especially with the schedule they open with.

at 2:16 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John is Josh Roenicke pitching today or tonight?

at 2:17 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arroyo is not going anywhere. You guys that look at the W-L makr only, go back and see how leads the bullpen blew for Arroyo last year. He's a solid No. 2-3 starter. He is a No. 2 on this staff. There is no way you trade him.

at 2:20 PM Anonymous Monroe said...

Arroyo's just average?
2006 3.29 ERA, league average 4.67
2007 4.23 ERA, league average 4.66

He may not be a number two, but he's quite valuable to have around. Maybe as an added bonus, the Reds will score some runs for him this year.

at 2:23 PM Blogger Matt said...

I don't think Krivsky/Baker should overthink the rotation. Evaluate the talent and put the best 5 in the rotation. The fans will forgive them for any negative effect that choice has on future arbitration/free agency or ego concerns. Cueto will have to do more than dominate a split Pirates squad but if he does enough, give him the job. Currently, my depth chart looks like:


at 2:23 PM Blogger Brendan T said...

If you trade Arroyo now, you're throwing away the season. The previous poster was right, the bullpen did blow a lot of his gmaes last year. They need to keep Arroyo to hold down the # 2 spot for now and then hopefully one of these young guys will mature into a # 2 and then Bronson would be the # 3, which is what he realistically suited for.

at 2:33 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I noticed Matt didn't mention Belisle...


at 2:38 PM Blogger redfuture said...

Stan, I know you're just trying to evoke a response from real baseball fans. Arroyo had 22 quality starts last year and that is way up there. Cueto will should definitely get the 4th spot because he has great command of all his pitches and is efficient. He'll be able to complete a minimum of 6 innings about 90% of the time. Of the stud pitchers, Bailey is next with command followed by Volquez. I'm for Bailey getting the 5th spot and Volquez doing lights out relief work unless Belisle falters. Fogg should be the long man and Affledt a lefty specialist.

at 2:43 PM Anonymous Red Faced said...

Concerning Arroyo, not only did the bullpen blow a lot of his leads but the bullpen also allowed a large number of his inherited runners score which contributed to the higher ERA. A stronger bullpen makes Arroyo's stats much better than average. He should be a solid #3 or #4 starter. Asking him to be a #2 shows the weakness of our rotation. Hopefully in the next year or two some of the young guys can fill out the rotation better and Arroyo can assume that #3 or #4 spot.

at 2:46 PM Blogger redfuture said...

Matt, please take Gardner of your depth chart! 7 runs in a 1/3 of an inning harkens back to the day Dumatrait, whom the Buccos have now by the way!

at 2:48 PM Blogger Signify said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

at 2:49 PM Anonymous Red Faced said...

I bet by the end of spring Cueto has the best numbers on the staff and still starts in Louisville. It's going to be a money decision all the way. Hopefully we'll see him in June sometime but I'm sure the team is going to try to keep him from earning his Super 2 status this year.

at 2:52 PM Blogger Signify said...

"Extremely Windy"

That won't be a problem when they move AZ.

Yes another step closer:


at 2:56 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arroyo was one of the pitchers with the lowest run support in the league. Add that with our horrible bullpen and arroyo doesnt look to good. You give Arroyo more runs and a solid bullpen behind him and he will win 14 games again. He was in the all star game 2006 where he won 14 games in 05 and 14 in 06. Arroyo will have a good year bc our bullpen is going to be solid. I like how our bullpen is coming around and a solid bullpen will make our starters much better.

at 2:59 PM Blogger AHarpoon22 said...

I would love to see the Reds move to Arizona....much better of a baseball place out there. Plus if you want to see other games its only 30-45 min. away unlike Florida you have to drive 2 hrs. to any other place.

at 3:05 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arroyo was cruising pretty good until that fateful start in San Diego. Narron wanted that win and he knew if he pulled him the bull pen would blow it. 134 pitches into the game, or some number close to that, the Reds still lost and Arroyo was out of gas for the next several starts.

at 3:16 PM Blogger Brendan T said...

Javy, don't tease us with Pedro comparisons! That's an exciting quote to read.

at 3:48 PM Anonymous The Crushinator said...

I think Javy Valentin is going to be the next Pedro Martinez

at 4:19 PM Anonymous Red Faced said...

It's looking to me like we won't be seeing Sauerbeck come next week. Surely we'll see some guys gone by Monday won't we? With Harang, Arroyo and now Cueto not getting in enough pitches during their 3 innings. Just too many guys playing who aren't going to even see the bench in Cincy. Let's see the guys who matter get more at bats and innings.

at 4:45 PM Blogger Will T. said...

Cueto was facing a split squad but it consisted of much of the Bucs regulars. Jason Bay, Freddy Sanchez, Adam LaRoche, Jack Wilson, Ronny Paulino. So people saying it was just a split squad game, wake up! He was pitching against the squad that happened to have their regulars. I think he deserves a spot in the rotation.

at 5:02 PM Blogger Matt said...

I ommitted Belisle on accident and would put him slightly above Affeldt. However, this is more of my hot-list. You have to take the early outings less seriously and if Belisle is solid the rest of the spring, he would move up. I think he has the makeup but I wouldn't give him a free pass. I think they try different psychological routes with different pitchers. With Belisle, they nearly penned him in and haven't applied the pressure of competing for a spot at least publicly. It probably shouldn't matter that much as all pitchers want to compete and succeed every time they go out.

I'm pulling for Gardner but he's an incredible longshot.

at 5:30 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's see Javy thinks Cueto is the next Pedro and I heard talk today in the radio after his 97 mph fastball and scoreless 3 innings that some people with the Reds feel he could be the No. 2 when cammp breaks. If that's true and he can be consistent, Arroyo moves to No. 3 and now we have something. I, unfortunately, think Fogg will be No. 4 and then Belisle or Homer will be No.5 the other in the pen with Volquez. Some of thge pitchers are throwing their way righgtout of contention . . . Gardner, Sauerbeck, Smith, Maloney. It's going to egt easier the closer we get to Opening Day. The position players are the ones making things hard.

at 6:12 PM Blogger Matt said...

Nice to see Brad Salmon back on the map with a nice outing. He was not given much respect for his...respectable numbers last year. Any word on his velocity and repertoire?

at 6:12 PM Anonymous smtides said...

I went to the game today. To say it was windy is an understatement. Hanigan, Griffey and someone else that I can't remember hit balls that would have gone out on a normal day, but Griffey did get a double on his when the CF ran straight back then the wind knocked it straight down if front of him.

Cueto is really sick. There's no radar gun that the fans can see, but he smoked some balls by guys today like Bay, Sanchez and LaRoche, big league hitters all. He's the real deal.

Rosales is very tall for an infielder. Didn't realize he was that big. Looks like a 1B or even an OF, not a SS.

Dickerson is a very impressive looking guy. He ripped an RBI single then stole second. He looks like an NFL safety. Very athletic.

Gardner, Sauerbeck and Adkins will be getting their bus tickets very soon. Probably Salmon too, but he does throw very hard and ended up with a couple of K's.

Oh, and Bako is a very good catcher and had 2 hits. If Ross is out much longer, that's going to be a good pick-up by Krivsky.

at 6:26 PM Anonymous PresidentJohnAllenJr. said...

Would anybody trade for Brian Roberts and move Phillips to shortstop? Let say, Freel, Gonzo, Belisle and Maloney for Roberts.
Add Cueto to the starting rotation.

Bruce, Hopper or Patterson CF
Roberts 2B
Griffey Jr. RF
Phillips SS
Dunner LF
Votto 1B
Ross C

Any comments?

at 6:37 PM Anonymous PresidentJohnAllenJr. said...

For the Ross situation, can anybody say Michael Barrett? Barrett is available and Inge won't be catching ever again (Leyland comments from yesterday).

at 7:17 PM Anonymous BigRedMachine said...

Nice to see K Griffs giving Bailey some props. I'd like to see both him and Cueto get a shot at the rotation. Fogg, Volquez or Affeldt should still get a chance to beat out Belisle too. A 5.00 ERA does not guarantee you a spot in the rotation last time I checked. Then I put everybody else in the bullpen and we should be good to go.

at 7:42 PM Blogger redfuture said...

Dumatrait thinks he has got things going now, LOL. Here is the link

at 10:04 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at the game today, and loved what I saw from Cueto. He is at least their #3 starter...right now. A question...is Freel Okay? He got hit today and it din't look good

at 2:26 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that Fay is doing a good job - although the first I read is Hal McCoy. Might have something to do with the fact that I'm from Dayton(?). But when Fay allows this to pass through his keyboard and out onto the net, it makes this English teacher want to cry: "Cueto through 15 more pithes in the bullpen to get his work in."

But the point is, these kids are making being a Reds fan exciting again. Cueto, Bailey, Volquez, Maloney, Votto, Bruce. Then the next generation - Phillips, Encarnacion, Dunn, Arroyo. Are we cognizant of the average age of this team? I'm drooling. Reminds me of the 1967-69 pre-Big Red Machine.
Gary Maloy Jr.

at 3:54 AM Blogger scoe44 said...

Here is a quote from Hal's blog about Cueto from Griffy“That kid has some really, really good stuff,” said Ken Griffey Jr., after watching Pittsburgh’s futility from his right field spot. “He is going to make it real tough on some guys who think they’re in the rotation. No. 34 (Homer Bailey) better turn it up a notch.” I just think Homer's problemis he is expecting to be in the rotation with out having to try as hard as he should. If cueto contuines to pitch like this even in spring i look fo rhim to be in the rotation and homer not. thats just my guess though not an expert but i did stay at a holiday inn once

at 6:18 AM Anonymous Mike21 said...


When will Arroyo pitch next? I was in McKechnie Field yesterday. That game was cancelled...

at 6:25 AM Blogger NVreds said...

Salmon's got a 95 mph heater, I didnt notice much movement when i saw him but i could be wrong. not sure what his other pitches are. I remember liking what i saw and was surprised we didnt see more of him

at 7:40 AM Blogger Jack in Blue Ash said...

greg maloy..it was a typo ..move on.. be grateful John Fay provides the blog.

there is always excitement in spring training..almost every year with every team. Last year with the reds it was Josh Hamiliton and Homer Bailey

I am a Reds fan, I go to many games..but to tell ya the truth..its way too early to be getting carried away especially when you consider the abysmal record of this club

drool all you want but i can assure you that this team is not the second coming of the Big Red Machine

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