Cueto ready to return Monday against Mets

Cueto ready to return Monday against Mets

PHILADELPHIA -- All systems are a go for Reds ace Johnny Cueto to return to the rotation from the disabled list Monday. Cueto, who has been out since April 15 with a strained right lat muscle, was named Wednesday as the starter for the series opener against the Mets.

"I'm ready for Monday," Cueto said Friday as he rejoined the team after his second rehab assignment start at Class A Dayton. "I'm happy. I'm happy for the team [playing well]."

On Tuesday, Cueto threw 58 pitches over five scoreless innings. He had no issues with his lat or the oblique muscle that became sore while he was on the DL.

"Everything was good," Cueto said. "I was working on my breaking ball. Everything was fine."

Cueto took the mound in the bullpen Friday for his regular side session, where he was expected to throw 35 pitches. The Reds will be watching Cueto closely Monday and will most likely be quick to limit his pitch count.

"We'll be a little careful," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "If he gets to a certain amount of pitches, you have to be careful with him. He's not in danger, but you're always fearful it could come back. Usually when things happen, they happen when you're fatigued."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for 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.