Johnny Cueto, 410 days later, will throw a major league pitch again.
More than 13 months after his last start, after which he underwent Tommy John surgery, the slimmed-down righty will take the mound Tuesday against the Pirates at Oracle Park seeking a win, confidence for next season and just to feel normal again.
Bruce Bochy estimated Cueto would throw about 80 pitches in his return to the rotation. In his last start for Triple-A Sacramento, on Aug. 31, he threw 75.
Bochy was asked about the importance of a few starts in a season in which playoffs are no longer a possibility.
“When a guy’s ready to pitch, he pitches. That’s how it works,” Bochy said before the Giants opened a series against Pittsburgh on Monday. “He’s gone through his rehab, we checked off every box. In fact, he’s gone through the rehab so long, he can no longer stay down [in the minors]. When he’s ready to pitch, you let him go.”
And how he performs this year can help him for next.
“It’s good for these guys to get out there. Probably give them a little self of comfort that they’re fine as they go into the offseason and get ready for spring training,” Bochy said.
In a rotation that is (still) auditioning Tyler Beede, Dereck Rodriguez and Logan Webb, add Cueto to that pile. He’s signed through 2021 and will be a big part of the immediate future for the Giants.
Reyes Moronta will have surgery Tuesday in Los Angeles on his labrum and capsule. Dr. Neal ElAttrache — the same who just operated on Pablo Sandoval — will perform the procedure.
Moronta went down in a heap in a scary scene Aug. 31, and labrum injuries are notoriously difficult to come back from.
Will Smith is “better,” Bochy said, after the closer was not inserted Saturday because of back tightness. But Bochy wasn’t completely certain yet whether he would be available.
“My guess is he’s good to go,” Bochy said.
The Giants are still waiting on Alex Dickerson.
Dickerson, who was sent to San Francisco on Saturday for a cortisone shot for his oblique, played catch Monday, Bochy said. But he hasn’t begun swinging.
“When you get a injection, it’s at least two-to-three days,” Bochy said of Dickerson, whom the Giants would like to see prove he can stay healthy before the season finishes.