CINCINNATI -- It looks like Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto is headed for the disabled list. The roster move isn't official yet, but Micah Owings is coming off the DL on Friday to take Cueto's spot in the rotation that night vs. the Pirates. Team medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek did not have Cueto take an MRI but diagnosed the 23-year-old with right shoulder inflammation.
"Johnny wasn't happy about it, which is a good sign," Reds manager Dusty Baker said Wednesday. "He said it doesn't hurt necessarily. We're going to back him off for a couple of starts. He wants to pitch." Cueto is 8-10 with a 4.61 ERA in 24 starts with 136 2/3 innings pitched this season. The club was concerned about arm fatigue this spring because he threw 174 innings last season and followed that with some innings in winter ball and the World Baseball Classic. Although velocity hasn't been an issue with Cueto lately, his location has been poor and he's complained that he can't feel the ball coming out of his hands when he pitches. In his latest start during Saturday's 10-6 loss to the Nationals, Cueto gave up seven earned runs and eight hits over 2 2/3 innings. His record is 0-6 with a 10.64 ERA over his last eight starts. The DL move would be retroactive to Sunday, which would make Cueto eligible to return on Aug. 31 -- when the Reds have a day-night doubleheader scheduled vs. the Pirates and will need an extra starting pitcher. Owings, who went on the DL July 27 because of a tight right shoulder, has made two rehab assignment starts for Triple-A Louisville and has a 0.87 ERA over 10 1/3 innings. But he has walked seven, including five in his last 5 2/3-inning start Saturday, with five strikeouts. In other injury news, third baseman Scott Rolen (concussion) will join Louisville in Indianapolis on Thursday to start what's expected to be a two-game rehab assignment. If all goes well, Rolen will meet the Reds in Pittsburgh on Saturday and be activated from the DL on Sunday. "That would be considered the plan," Rolen said Wednesday. "Hopefully things will go well there." On Tuesday, Rolen took full batting practice, fielded ground balls, threw across the diamond and ran on the treadmill at 80 percent intensity. The headaches that had bothered him have gone away. "I don't have any symptoms at this point," Rolen said. "I did a lot yesterday and had no trouble."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.