Cueto’s return to a competitive pitching environment came almost exactly one year to the day of his 2018 Tommy John surgery. The 33-year-old has obviously made significant progress in his recovery and is now firmly on track to return to the MLB mound late this season.
The results were rather impressive for an initial showing, even if it came against rookie ball competition. Of his 21 pitches, Cueto threw 19 for strikes — seven of them of the swinging variety — while racking up five strikeouts in a pair of hitless innings. He was already sitting in the same range with his fastball that he did last year (90.5 mph). While that was a low point for the veteran, it seems promising that his arm speed is already at least to that level.
Unconvinced? Want to see it with your own eyes? Well, Cueto has you covered. He thoughtfully posted every pitch of his outing to his Instagram account.
Cueto is obviously excited about the prospect of a return, as Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. The plan is for him to make another rookie ball outing before moving to the High-A level for several additional outings. Cueto will ultimately need at least two full tune-ups at the highest level of the minors before he makes it back to the MLB mound.
The Giants altered their trade deadline approach after a winning streak brought them back into the Wild Card picture, so Cueto could provide a nice boost this year. Regardless of how the standings look when he’s ready to return, Cueto will be looking to reesteablish his form before shutting things down for the offseason. The Giants owe him $21MM annually through 2021, along with a $5MM buyout on a 2022 club option.