SAN FRANCISCO — Johnny Cueto was scratched from his scheduled start on Thursday due to an inner ear infection, but his absence from the rotation will be short-lived as Bruce Bochy said the righty will return to the mound for the first half finale against the Marlins on Sunday afternoon.
Cueto fought an inner ear infection, which led to former first round pick Chris Stratton making his first career start in a loss to Detroit two days ago. Stratton threw 6.2 innings and allowed five earned runs before being sent down to AAA Sacramento on Friday.
As a result of Cueto’s return to the mound for the first time since a June 30 start, Matt Cain will be bumped from his turn in the rotation. Bochy said Cain can throw Saturday or Sunday in relief if needed.
“Matt Cain will help out either today or tomorrow if we need help in the bullpen, so that’s an adjustment we made with the rotation,” Bochy said. “Now after the break, I don’t have a rotation set for you right now, maybe tomorrow I’ll have that.”
The Sunday return of Cueto is important, Bochy said, in order to keep the 31-year-old on track with his throwing schedule. If he missed Sunday and then stayed dormant during the upcoming All-Star break, it may have been too long of a layoff.
“We didn’t want to go that long before his next start,” Bochy said. “We just bumped him up and now we can use Matty in the bullpen. If [Cueto] didn’t start here, now you go another four days. He’s already had his All-Star break so to speak, with three extra days off.”
In other pregame news, Bochy said Madison Bumgarner is all set for what should be his final rehab start for the San Jose Giants on Monday night before his return to the big club on Saturday in San Diego. Bumgarner, who was at AT&T Park on Saturday, struggled in his last start with High-A San Jose but Bochy said the southpaw should be more focused in his final tuneup.
“It’ll be nice to get him stretched out pretty good,” Bochy said. “We got him around 90 pitches. He’ll tighten it up a little bit, all his pitches. This is an important tune up for him, and he knows it, we talked about it.”
Bochy said he’s still unsure of the extent of Austin Slater’s injury. Slater suffered a right groin injury last night and was placed on the 10-day DL while Mac Williamson was called up in his place. MRI results were expected to come some time before Saturday night’s game, Bochy said.