There’s no good way to put this: Johnny Cueto’s forearm is a huge problem. You can find all the tweets and learn for yourself how he will seek out 2-3 more opinions, including Dr. James Andrews’ to figure out what to do next. Clearly, the MRI results were either inconclusive or indicated there’s a tear or damage. Rest has usually helped calm things down with Cueto’s forearm in previous incidents, but no one with the Giants or reporting on behalf of the Giants has used the word rest.
So, given that this is a pitcher we’re talking about here, and given how he’ll be seeing Dr. James Andrews once the team arrives in Atlanta for the weekend, it’s perfectly reasonable for you to jump to the worst conclusion. The worst case scenario for Cueto, as with any pitcher, is a career-ending injury, which I don’t think will be the case here. But for fans and a team that has put 100% of its resources into going for it one last time, losing their second best starting pitcher (on paper) is a tremendous blow.
The only possible route to having any optimism about this is that Shohei Ohtani was diagnosed with a sprained UCL back in December. It’s similar to what Masahiro Tanaka suffered and the prognosis was that it could be fixed by rest and not surgery. So, there’s a very slim chance that this all works out for the Giants and Johnny Cueto. But if it doesn’t... that’s just how baseball works, especially with pitchers.
As disappointing as losing Cueto will be, disappointment is really the main force in the game. It’s what makes the victories feel that much greater. Success is so hard to come by that it just makes sense to stay in the present and not think about what’s next. For instance:
A goal of every MLB player. 10 yr guys get a max funded MLB pension of $200k+ annually. Also a reminder of why Tampa traded Longo. Had they kept him, today would be the day he’d earn 10/5 rights, which equals a full no-trade. Rays were losing leverage, & #SFGiants capitalized.— Jessica (@VegasGamerBabe) May 2, 2018
Sure, it’s mostly about the money at this point in a player’s career, but what a tremendous accomplishment to remain a pro athlete for a decade. It’s nice that the players do this for each other and while it might be a lot like an office birthday gathering (Longoria and Cueto had to share the same cake?), it’s still a nice moment. As we were just talking about, it could all end in an instant.
The Giants activated left-handed reliever Will Smith today, after a year on the disabled list due to Tommy John surgery. It was initially believed that Smith would be activated when Andrew Suarez was sent down after what was supposed to be a spot-start on Tuesday because of the double-header over the weekend. However, considering the injury news about Cueto, Suarez will be sticking around. Smith will provide much needed support to a taxed bullpen, especially with the injury to a struggling Josh Osich that left the team short on left-handed relievers.
If you’re wondering how he looked during his rehab, Doug has got you covered.
Austin Slater was optioned back to Triple-A to make room for Smith. Slater got called up, optioned, and re-called all in the span of 24 hours last week due to Mac Williamson’s move to the concussion DL. Slater had two hits and three walks, striking out four times in his 14 plate appearances with the team.
Williamson is slated to return on Saturday, with no update on Hunter Pence returning from his rehab stint. What? You’re not wondering when Hunter Pence will return?
The other non-Cueto update involves Joe Panik.
Joe Panik’s surgery went well. It’s his top hand and not his throwing hand, which should make this a less complicated rehab. But he won’t try to rush the six-week estimate. He and Bum should return around the same time.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) May 2, 2018
Six weeks sounds and feels like both a long time and not very long at all. For context: Sami and I began running the site six weeks ago. How well you remember Grant will determine how long you think the next six weeks without Bumgarner and Panik will feel.
Another tweet mentioned that six weeks is also the timetable for Mark Melancon to return possibly...
... What? You’re not wondering when Mark Melancon will return?