Cincinnati Reds Ace Johnny Cueto to Make Rehab Start Thursday

Illya Harrell@illya_1971Analyst IIMay 8, 2013

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 13:  Johnny Cueto #47 of the Cincinnati Reds walks off the field alongside trainer Paul Lessard after suffering soreness in his throwing arm during the fifth inning against the Cincinnati Reds on April 13, 2013 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The good folk in Cincinnati Reds Country are crossing their fingers. Like Pedro Cerrano, some have given thought to a sacrificial live chicken. Why the hoopla? Johnny Cueto is scheduled to make the first of probably two rehab starts tomorrow for the Reds' Single-A affiliate, the Dayton Dragons.

So what's with all the paranoia? Friday, Cueto was suppose to pitch his first rehab game in Pensacola. That idea was nixed due to oblique soreness.

Here's where the situation has some of the more conspiratorial Reds fans gnawing their nails worse than a dugout shot of Jay Bruce.

Originally, Cueto's injury was a strained lat muscle.

Before Friday's start, it was determined he was dealing with a totally unrelated oblique soreness.

Then Reds skipper Dusty Baker dropped this bombshell (via's Mark Sheldon): "He had a good bullpen and he didn’t experience anything in his arm but he experienced soreness in that oblique that he hurt last year in the playoffs."

Come again? The same one from last year. That evil oblique that killed any hope of the Reds winning a NL pennant, much less a World Series.

Fans were told more would be known on Monday. Monday night, nada. Tuesday morning, afternoon and night—more eerie silence. This morning, Wednesday...still nothing. Finally around 4:30 p.m. ET, Reds beat writer C. Trent Rosecrans broke this story.

Cueto will briefly relive his Dragon days on Thursday: "I like it there. Good stadium, good people. Big crowds, there’s good memories (there). I’m happy to pitch there."

Baker summed it up the best: "It’s very encouraging, I hope he does well. We’re not as worried about his performance as we are him coming out of it (healthy)."

So Reds fans, no need to purchase live poultry. To be on the safe side, fans may wish to invest in a bag of Cerrano's lucky marbles.