The Giants announced that they’ve activated Johnny Cueto from the 60-day disabled list on Thursday. Infielder Kelby Tomlinson was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento in order to open a spot on the active roster. Cueto’s activation will also require a 40-man move, though the team has yet to make that announcement.
Cueto, 32, has been out since late April due to a sprain in his right elbow. While the right-hander said that he initially feared he’d require Tommy John surgery, that level of damage wasn’t revealed in the subsequent MRI, and he instead is now able to return after missing a bit more than two months.
The return of Cueto will be a welcome boon to the San Francisco rotation; the right-hander had gotten off to an outstanding start to the 2018 season, pitching to a 0.84 ERA with 7.3 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, 0.28 HR/9 and a 45 percent ground-ball rate in 32 innings before landing on the shelf. He’ll now slot into the rotation alongside Madison Bumgarner, Chris Stratton, Andrew Suarez and Dereck Rodriguez. That composition is likely to change though, as Jeff Samardzija is also slated to be activated from the disabled list this weekend.
Cueto’s return will likely be one of the more significant additions the Giants make in the coming weeks. With the team pressed right up against the luxury tax threshold, they’ll only be able to add players if their trade partners either agree to pay the entirety of the remaining salary on a player’s contract or take back some meaningful salary in return. Despite the significant injuries they’ve dealt with in the rotation this season, the Giants are sitting at 45-43 — just 3.5 games behind the division-leading Diamondbacks and three games behind the second-place Dodgers.