SAN DIEGO -- Johnny Cueto took to Instagram on Sunday afternoon to talk about how hot it was during his rehab start for the San Jose Giants. That was Cueto's only complaint, though, and that's a good thing.
The right-hander said his elbow feels fine after he threw 72 pitches in a second rehab start, and he has no blister issues. He deemed himself ready to return to the big league rotation. Manager Bruce Bochy said the Giants will make a decision after Cueto throws a bullpen session on Tuesday or Wednesday at Petco Park.
"I felt strong," Cueto said through interpreter Erwin Higueros. "I felt better."
It seems likely that the Giants will go to a six-man rotation for at least one turn. They do not want to remove Chris Stratton from the rotation and Matt Moore -- at one time a candidate to skip a start -- is finally finding some traction. Asked why he's pushing to return for just a few starts in a lost season, Cueto said he wants to finish strong.
Cueto has not yet made a decision on his opt-out, but there are obvious implications there, too. Right now, it seems impossible that Cueto would go to the market after a down year filled with injuries, but the math could change if he closes out the year with a string of throwback starts. The starting pitching market this offseason is considered poor.
"My whole mentality has been for me to stay here," Cueto said. "But at the end of the season I'll talk to my agent and we'll make a decision. When I signed with the team, it was to help the team win."
Cueto added that "things happen and you never know what's going to happen."
Can this team, with a healthy Cueto, win next year?
"I do feel the team can win," Cueto said. "The thing we have to hope for is that everyone is healthy enough to win."