GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- In his spring debut, Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto threw 45 pitches over two scoreless innings against the Indians Thursday. It was an encouraging beginning for Cueto, who was limited to 11 starts last season because of three trips to the disabled list.
Cueto battled often with a strained right lat muscle in 2013. There were no lingering issues Thursday as he used all of his pitches. His fastball seemed to have some extra zip as well.
"I felt like the ball was coming out really good today," Cueto said. Cueto gave up a Mike Aviles one-out double down the left-field line in the first inning and escaped. In the second, he issued a leadoff walk to Jason Giambi and a one-out walk to Jesus Aguilar, which prompted a visit from new Reds pitching coach Jeff Pico.
"I felt like I was opened up too much and landing up to first base," Cueto said. "Pico came and told me 'This is what you're doing,' so we both agreed to close it up a little bit."
During the start, Cueto still turned his back to hitters like in past seasons, but modified it slightly to make it less dramatic.
"It's the same, just a little touch shorter turn than I used to do it," Cueto said. "The good thing is I feel really good today."