ST. LOUIS (AP) - Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto missed the team’s first series against the St. Louis Cardinals since he played a principal role in their fracas last month, attending to what the team called a family emergency in the Dominican Republic.
Manager Dusty Baker thought Cueto, who last pitched on Wednesday, would be back in time for his next turn in the rotation Tuesday at Colorado. He said Cueto would run and throw while away during what the manager termed a “pretty serious emergency.”
Cueto, second on the team in wins with a 12-4 record and 3.41 ERA, was suspended seven games for his actions during a brawl with the Cardinals in Cincinnati last month. Cueto kicked Jason LaRue and Chris Carpenter, and LaRue sustained a concussion and subsequently was placed on the 60-day disabled list.
Major League Baseball assigned the umpires who worked that game to the three-game series in St. Louis starting Friday night with Jeff Kellogg at home plate, Larry Vanover at first, Jeff Nelson at second and Mike Carlson at third.
“If they were going to warn, you’d have thought they were going to warn that day,” Baker said. “We’re just here to play ball.”
“Probably none of us will get a very good reception,” the manager said. “But that’s what happens when we had what we had, and we’re on the road in their town for the first time. So you expect it.”
Phillips made his first start since getting hit by a pitch Aug. 25. He didn’t want to talk about playing the Cardinals.
“I think I’ll just pass,” Phillips told the Associated Press. “There’s no high road and no low road. I’m just reading my magazine.”
The Reds trailed the Cardinals by a game after getting swept in a three-game series Aug. 9-11, but entered Friday eight games up in the NL Central. The Cardinals were 5-13 since then and had dropped eight of nine.
“There’s guys in this clubhouse that I don’t think you can say are underachieving,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “A lot of the same guys that have given us some of our best moments and put us in a winning position are the same guys _ pitchers and hitters.
“Unless you think they’ve given up, other than acknowledging that you’re struggling and getting beat, beating them up would make things worse.”
Baker said Jay Bruce, who missed his third straight start with pain in his right side, could also play Saturday.