CINCINNATI -- Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto made an early exit from his outing vs. the Cubs on Wednesday with a strained right lat muscle and will be examined again tomorrow.
During the top of the fourth inning, Cueto was rubbing his right arm after retiring leadoff batter Carlos Pena on a line out to second base. Pitching coach Bryan Price and assistant trainer Steve Baumann visited the mound, where Cueto took a few warm-up tosses before continuing.
Cueto's night lasted for only one more batter. After Alfonso Soriano popped out to second base, manager Dusty Baker, Price and Baumann emerged from the dugout and lifted Cueto from the game following a brief conversation. The Reds were leading by a 5-0 score at the time.
"He just said he felt a little something but was OK," said Baker. "Then I saw him grimace a couple of times after he threw a couple of pitches. He threw one 94 to Soriano and then a great slider. I looked at Ramon and he shook his head. That was the sign that it was enough."
Over 3 2/3 scoreless innings, Cueto gave up three hits and a walk with a hit batter and two strikeouts.
Even though out of contention, the loss of Cueto would be a blow to the Reds. The right-hander, who has a 9-5 record, has been their best pitcher all season and his 2.31 ERA in 24 starts is the best in the Majors.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.