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Johnny Cueto to miss at least one start with groin injury

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It could have been worse, but it sure could have been better

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When Johnny Cueto kept pulling at his groin, it didn’t look good. Later, he would describe the sensation as if crabs were biting him. Hold on, let me start over.

Cueto left Tuesday night’s game with a groin injury, and he underwent an MRI in Los Angeles. The news? Good! Kind of. It's a Grade 1 strain, which should be mild enough to keep him from missing an extended period of time, and it shouldn’t affect his ability to appear in the postseason if the Giants get that far.

The bad news is that the Giants still need to get that far, and having one of their best pitchers miss at least one start isn’t going to help. There’s no need to announce exactly who will replace Cueto in the rotation for a turn, but Jake Peavy is a prime candidate, even if he hasn’t appeared in a game since Sept. 10 or started one since July 30. If the Giants don’t want to mess with his conversion to the bullpen, they also have both Matt Cain and Ty Blach available. (This tweet confirming as much came across just as I was typing that sentence. Timely!)

Somehow Peavy is the only one of the three who’s started against the Padres (the opponent when Cueto’s turn comes up in the rotation) this season, and he was effective over six innings. The Padres are also slightly better against lefties this season, which could be an argument against Blach, though the bulk of those numbers came with Matt Kemp in the lineup and before the schimpfening.

Still, my take is that jerking the old-timers around wouldn’t make a lot of sense, not when they’ve spent most of the season being ineffective. I can’t imagine watching Blach immolate and thinking, "Ugh, if only they started Jake Peavy instead!" It would be more like, "Guess this was gonna come one way or another." And the side benefit would be that we would get to watch Blach, which would actually be a reason to watch a Padres/Giants game on purpose.

The news could have been worse. But it sure could have been better. The Giants have a fraction of the season left, and they’ll need every win they can get, but they’ll have to do it without one of their most valuable players. Maybe the bullpen will step up and make us forget about the whole thing.