Almost nothing can be learned from a rehabbing veteran's box score in the minor leagues. That was reinforced a couple of years ago when a Dodgers A-ball team crushed Giants ace Madison Bumgarner as he tried to get a feel for his signature cutter.
So throw out the five runs that Johnny Cueto was charged with Tuesday night in Modesto. Look only at the number "60," which is how many pitches Cueto threw in his second appearance for the San Jose Giants.
The big-league training staff had hoped to see Cueto get above 55, and he appeared to have another solid night of work as he inched closer to the majors. Cueto gave up four hits, walked one and struck out three.
His next stop will be Triple-A Sacramento for two more starts.
Cueto is lined up to pitch Monday in Sacramento, and Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters in Chicago that he should be back in the big leagues around Sept. 8. For over a year, Cueto has targeted the first week of September.
The right-hander is now nearly 13 months removed from Tommy John surgery and has had no setbacks. He was coming along so smoothly that the Giants discussed taking away one of the rehab starts and getting him back early, although plenty in the organization preferred caution.
The original path was two starts for San Jose and two for Sacramento, and Cueto is halfway through the schedule that'll soon get him back with the Giants.