GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- It was learned on Wednesday night that Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto would not be permitted to pitch for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. First baseman Joey Votto's status to participate for Team Canada still remained officially unresolved.
"Reds exercised right to disallow Cueto's participation in WBC as he finished on DL. Despite his desire to play, he respects their decision," Cueto's agent, Bryce Dixon, posted on Twitter
Cueto strained his right oblique muscle during the National League Division Series vs. the Giants last October.
The final Classic rosters were due to be submitted on Wednesday. Since both players are coming off of injuries last season, the league, team and the player's country have to approve the decision.
From Cincinnati's 40-man roster, only second baseman Brandon Phillips (United States) and reliever Alfredo Simon (Dominican Republic) are leaving camp next week to participate in the Classic.
Because of the event, Spring Training camps opened about a week earlier and Cactus League games start earlier, on Friday. The Reds have 37 exhibitions, which is more than usual. More camp and more games could lead to more injury, but Reds manager Dusty Baker chose the more optimistic outlook.
"Or it's a one-seventh chance that someone gets sharp," Baker said. "Or a guy who is a slow starter gets one more look. Brandon being gone, or whoever may be gone, that's more [at-bats] for someone to show us what they've got. There's a plus side to it. I will have to play Brandon more innings to get him ready for the WBC so he doesn't get hurt. Then I have to play him when he gets back so he and [Zack] Cozart and whoever the utility guys are can get together on their exchange for double plays.
"Guys who haven't played with Brandon might not know his range going out for fly balls. These are little things that can add to victories or lead to injuries. There are plusses and minuses. It all depends on how long they go."