SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) -- Rookie Johnny Cueto took another step toward earning a spot in the Cincinnati Reds' starting rotation.
Cueto bounced back from a tough first inning Monday, and pitched four solid innings in the Reds' 5-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers.After game-opening bloop singles by Edgar Renteria and Placido Polanco helped the Tigers take a 2-0 lead, Cueto shut down the Tigers over the next three innings, finishing with four strikeouts and allowing only the two hits and two runs in his four-inning stint."He seemed unfazed. He handled it like a veteran," Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. "He used damage control. Real good pitchers keep you in the game when they get into trouble early."Baker's not ready to award the 22-year-old right-hander a starting job just yet."I don't want him to think he's got it," Baker said.Tigers manager Jim Leyland was also impressed by Cueto's performance."That's one of the best-looking young pitchers I've seen all spring," Leyland said. "I don't know anything about him, but he's got talent. Unfortunately, he plays for the other team."Veteran lefty Kenny Rogers pitched five innings for Detroit, allowing two runs on six hits and striking out one. Right-hander Denny Bautista, who seems to have earned a spot in the bullpen, followed, allowing hit in his inning with one strikeout. That gives Bautista 10 1-3 shutout innings in seven appearances this spring.The Tigers decided to make Bautista a reliever after he bounced between being the rotation and the bullpen."He's had a pretty good spring," Leyland said.Cincinnati scored two runs off former Red and losing pitcher Todd Jones (0-1) in the seventh. Francisco Cordero (1-0) pitched two innings to gain the victory, after needing only five pitches to retire the side in his first inning of work."We needed to get him more work," Baker said. "His splitter was great. He was working on his fastball."Carlos Guillen, an everyday first baseman for the first time in his career, had two hits and made some slick plays for Detroit."It looks like he's adjusted to it real good. He's real quick off the ball and is more agile than most first baseman," Leyland said.
The Reds rearranged their starting rotation, moving Jeremy Affeldt to a minor league game and Josh Fogg up a day to face Pittsburgh on Tuesday. That hints at the end of Affeldt's attempt to return as a starter after specializing in relief for the Rockies. ... Tiger backup infielder Michael Holliman was helped from the field after diving for Ryan Hannigan's single in the eighth. He dislocated his left shoulder. An MRI is scheduled for Tuesday. ... Reds RHP Bronson Arroyo pitched in a minor league game for Louisville. He threw 85 pitches over 5 2-3 innings. ... LHP Mike Stanton threw 28 pitches in two innings for Chattanooga. ... The game here drew 7,564 fans for the first sellout of the spring. ... Both managers expect to make roster cuts by Tuesday. ... Rogers said he made his professional debut here before there was an Ed Smith Stadium in 1982, playing rookie ball for the Texas Rangers, who drafted him in the 39th round. "That was before they built this place. In '82 baby. But say '92 because it sounds better," Rogers joked. "This is where I started."