Two weeks ago, Henry Schulman reported that the Giants are going to monitor Johnny Cueto's workload. Now we have an idea of just how they'll go about that. Cueto will miss Saturday's start, even though he says he feels fine. This is probably a good time to point out that no shenanigans are afoot here. This all makes sense, and nothing is wrong.
This all makes sense, and nothing is wrong. You believe that, don't you? This all makes sense, and nothing is wrong. This all makes sense, and nothing is wrong.
No, it really does make sense! Let's recap Cueto's recent history:
- 2013: Sprained lat muscle (a back muscle that affects arm and shoulder movement); limited to 60 innings
- 2014: Cy Young contender; throws 243 innings after missing most of the previous year
- 2015: On championship team; throws 237 innings and fades toward the end of the year
This is not a pitcher you need to make broth out of in spring training. And there's precedent for this sort of thing. In 2011, Matt Cain made just four starts in the spring. Tim Lincecum made six, but he threw only as many innings as random non-roster invitee Ryan Vogelsong, who clearly wasn't in the club's plans.
In 2013, Madison Bumgarner threw just 19⅔ innings, despite pitching extremely well, likely because of the way he sputtered toward the end of the 2012 season. Remember, the Giants chose to start Barry Zito in an elimination game over Bumgarner on purpose.
In 2015, neither Bumgarner nor Jake Peavy threw more than 20 innings in the spring after the ghastly workload of the previous year. Chris Heston threw almost as many innings, even though he started just two games, for perspective.
So for pitchers after a long season with a deep postseason run? There's a pattern of rest, at least compared to the other starters in camp, especially if there's some sense that the pitcher was tired at the end of the previous year. Note that I looked only at pitchers after a championship-winning season, but the sample size wasn't that small because there were three such seasons for the Giants.
It makes sense that Cueto will miss some spring starts, like Bumgarner did last year. You figure he knows what he's doing and doesn't need a lot to get sharp, sure, but mostly you need Johnny Cueto, not Johnny Cueto paste. The Giants are skipping his first appearance with his new team, and it all makes sense. Nothing is wrong.
This all makes sense, and nothing is wrong. Ahem. But if you wanted to just, you know, talk, I'll be here.