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Cueto returns after his mother’s heart surgery

Jim Walker



GOODYEAR, AZ. — Open-heart surgery proved to be a health boost to mother and son.

Cincinnati Reds’ ace right-handed pitcher Johnny Cueto got some mental relief after successful open-heart surgery was performed on his mother, Critina, last week.

Cueto — a 20-game winner last season — is slated to start on Opening Day against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday, April 6.

“My mom is all right which is something I don’t have to worry about any more so I’ll definitely be ready for Opening Day,” said Cueto.

“I take it step by step. Even though I was practicing down there in the Dominican, it’s still not the same as (training camp). I think that I’m going to get it, but it’s going to take time for me to feel comfortable because right now I’m feel like I need to get back in my groove.”

Cueto last pitched on March 15 against the Chicago Cubs. He then left camp to be with his mother. He rejoined the team Thursday as his mother’s health improved.

“It was very tough to leave my mom behind, but she understood. Right now I’m very happy I’m back here with my teammates because I need to continue to work and we need to be together for what is coming,” said Cueto.

“Everything is fine and I’m feeling good and I’m ready for Opening Day.”

Cueto threw five innings on Friday against the Los Angeles Dodgers AA minor league team at the Reds complex.

Even though Cueto occasionally told his catcher — and consequently the opposing batter — what he was throwing and where it would be located, he went five innings allowing two earned runs and five hits with four strikeouts, no walks and a wild pitch.

Of the 60 pitches he threw, 47 were for strikes.