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Cueto exits start after two innings

Cueto exits start after two innings

ST. LOUIS -- Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto's start Monday vs. the Cardinals was stopped after just two innings because of a tight left hip flexor.

Cueto was the leadoff batter in the top of the third inning of Cincinnati's 4-1 loss when he appeared to favor the leg on a groundout to second base. He only ran halfway down the line even though Cardinals pitcher Kyle Lohse had to cover first base on the play.

"He said he was cramping," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "I could tell something was wrong when he didn't run to first base. He was tight early in the game. When I looked up, he didn't have his normal velocity. He wanted to go back out, but we couldn't take a chance of hurting him."

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The Reds' medical staff will re-evaluate Cueto on Tuesday.

"We'll have a better idea tomorrow how sore he is and the severity of it," Baker said.

In his two innings, Cueto gave up one earned run and one hit with one walk and two strikeouts. He threw 39 pitches.

"Since the first inning, it was bothering me," Cueto said with teammate Carlos Fisher interpreting. "It got a little tight to start the day, but it didn't really bother me until the first inning."

The 23-year-old Cueto didn't believe the injury would force him to miss his next scheduled start on Saturday vs. the Nationals.

"I think I will be alright," Cueto said. "I didn't want to risk anything. It shouldn't be a problem."

The Reds have been hit hard by injuries all season and the rotation hasn't been spared. Edinson Volquez is out for the season after he had Tommy John ligament replacement surgery last week on his right elbow, and Micah Owings is on the disabled list with a tight right shoulder.

Owings pitched in a Minor League rehab assignment on Monday with Triple-A Louisville. At Lehigh Valley, he tossed 79 pitches over 4 2/3 innings and gave up one earned run and five hits with two walks and two strikeouts. He left with a 4-1 lead.

Should Cueto not be able to make his next start, Owings would become an obvious candidate to take the turn.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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