Giants righty Johnny Cueto has been on a relatively aggressive timetable in his effort to work back from Tommy John surgery. He’s still on track for a possible return to the majors this September, as Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group reports.
The 33-year-old Cueto was turning in good results last year when he went down, making it through 53 frames of 3.23 ERA ball. But his velocity was down and the peripherals painted a different picture. His outlook soured quite a bit more when it was determined he’d require a replacement ulnar collateral ligament last August.
Expectations will be modest, but there’s still quite a bit at stake here for the San Francisco organization. Cueto is earning $21MM annually through the 2021 season, with a $5MM buyout due thereafter on a $22MM club option. It’s tough to imagine he’ll be worth anything close to his annual salary moving forward, but every bit of contribution will help the club to stomach its already-fixed financial commitment.
Cueto is still working out at the Giants’ Arizona facility, so he’ll hop over to Chase Field for a ’pen session while the club is in town. If all continues to go well, says Crowley, Cueto could embark upon a rehab assignment in August and be back in the bigs for the final month of the season. That would represent a fast-tracked, though hardly unprecedented return. While the Giants won’t have much to play for, seeing him in action could at least help with the offseason planning.