The Giants dropped their road series to the Rockies on Sunday with a 6-2 loss at Coors Field, but the team still received positive news out in Arizona.
Johnny Cueto made his first start since undergoing Tommy John surgery in August of 2018. He last pitched in the major leagues for the Giants on July 28.
His first start back couldn't have gone any better, too. Cueto, pitching for the AZL Giants Black in the Arizona Rookie League, struck out five of the seven batters he faced in two innings pitched. Alex Simon, who currently is at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and was on site for the start, reported Cueto threw 19 of his 21 pitches for strikes. And his only two balls came 0-2 counts.
Cueto recently posted a video of himself pitching a live bullpen in Arizona to his Instagram. A fan asked him if he'll pitch this season for the Giants and Cueto simply said "yes."
The Giants always have viewed Sept. 1 as a return date for Cueto. It's impossible to expect him to be at his ace caliber play on the mound right away and Cueto is sure to be on a pitch-count limit.
Cueto, nonetheless, will be a big addition to the Giants' staff whenever he returns. He has lost more than 20 pounds during his rehab and team officials say he's in great shape.
A trio of Madison Bumgarner, Jeff Samardzija and Cueto could be one of the best in baseball down the stretch as the Giants push for a playoff spot in the NL wild-card race.