The Cincinnati Reds dropped injured ace Johnny Cueto from their division series roster Wednesday, replacing him with right-hander Mike Leake a few hours before Game 4 against the San Francisco Giants.
Major League Baseball granted permission for the move at 11:30 a.m., less than five hours before the first pitch.
Cueto pulled muscles in his side during the first inning of the series opener Saturday night. The Reds had been hoping their 19-game winner would improve enough to be able to pitch again, but the injury was still bothering him.
Cincinnati was reluctant to make the move with Cueto because it also leaves him ineligible to pitch in the NL championship series, should Cincinnati make it that far. The Reds lead the best-of-five series 2-1.
“It’s tough taking your potential Cy Young guy out of your rotation,” General Manager Walt Jocketty said.
Jocketty said the Reds filed the paperwork for the roster switch shortly before 10 a.m. on Wednesday and got MLB’s permission at 11:30. Leake, their No. 5 starter, had been told that the move was possible, so he should be ready to start.
The Reds’ medical staff determined that Cueto’s injury could bother him into the start of the NLCS, which was a major factor in the decision to remove him from the roster.
“It was a very, very tough decision to make, but our medical staff felt at best, Johnny would be able to pitch maybe one game in the next series if we get there, if he were available for that series,” Jocketty said.
The Reds’ other option was to keep Cueto on the roster and start Mat Latos on only three days of rest, putting the pitching staff in flux. Latos will pitch Game 5 if needed.
White Sox outright Olmedo
Chicago White Sox infielder Ray Olmedo was sent outright to Triple-A Charlotte and will become a minor-league free agent.
The 31-year-old Olmedo appeared in 20 games with the White Sox this season, going 10-for-41 with one RBI and eight runs scored.
The White Sox have 39 players on their 40-man roster.
Montreal honors Carter
Montreal will name a street and a park after Gary Carter, the Hall of Fame catcher who defined the golden era of a once-beloved franchise.
Carter died in February of cancer at age 57.
On Wednesday, the city announced the details of its tribute to the player who starred with the now-defunct Expos for more than half of his career.
The street borders Jarry Park, where the Expos played for most of their first decade and where Carter made his big-league debut.
There will also be a park in the north-end Ahuntsic district named after him.
The changes will be enacted by the city council in February, a year after Carter’s death.
City officials say they also might eventually honor him at the site of the Olympic Stadium, where Carter played for the majority of his Expos career. Close to 2,000 proposals were submitted to the city after the call for ideas was launched Feb. 27.