SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Johnny Cueto remains in the Dominican Republic helping his ailing father a week after pitchers and catchers reported to spring training, and the San Francisco Giants plan to reach out to him to see how he is doing and whether he thinks he will be ready to pitch for his country in the World Baseball Classic.
San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy is not worried about Cueto’s preparation. The right-hander has been throwing and working out regularly at the club’s academy.
“The WBC is starting to cause a slight concern,” Bochy said Monday. “He’ll be smart enough to know if he’s ready or not.”
Cueto, who signed a $130 million, six-year contract before last season, went 18-5 with a 2.79 ERA and five complete games in 32 starts last year.
Bochy said the 31-year-old Cueto ideally would be built up to the range of 50-60 pitches ahead of the WBC. The Dominican squad is set to open against Canada in Pool C on March 9 in Miami.
Cueto showed a year ago in his first spring training with the Giants how meticulous a routine he keeps to prepare for a season and even between starts.
“You know Johnny: He’s smart. He has a great way of getting ready, he paces himself,” Bochy said. “You saw last year. … Johnny knows what it takes to get ready.”
Bochy has received video of Cueto’s throwing sessions back home and didn’t want to speculate on his status for the WBC until speaking directly with Cueto.
If Cueto doesn’t feel quite ready by March 9, there’s also the option that he could join the Dominican Republic team for a later round of the tournament.
“We’re fine. This spring has started early, so he’ll have plenty of time to get ready,” Bochy said. “Now, the question will be, will he be ready for the WBC? That’s the question we have to answer now, and that’s why we’re going to call him, we’re going to try to get ahold of him to see exactly where we’re at. He’ll be honest with us. We’re going to talk about a lot of things, see exactly where he’s at, where he’s at mentally, too, how his father’s doing. He’s got a lot going on right now.”
Athletic trainer Dave Groeschner will be away from the Giants to work as athletic trainer for the Netherlands team managed by San Francisco hitting coach Hensley Meulens.