Johnny Cueto Set for One More in Triple-A Before Likely Return to Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- A couple of weeks ago, with their rotation having multiple vacancies and Johnny Cueto sailing through bullpen sessions, the Giants briefly considered bringing him back early. 

It was wishful thinking at the time, but some in the organization pictured Cueto throwing 60-70 pitches against big league hitters, going through his spring training at the sport's highest level. Cueto instead will make one more rehab start in Triple-A, but he's likely just days away from a return to the Giants. 

Cueto threw 65 pitches for the River Cats on Monday and manager Bruce Bochy said he'll start again Saturday. After that, Cueto is expected to rejoin the rotation, likely facing the Dodgers next weekend in Los Angeles. 

"He's getting close," Bochy said. 

Cueto told reporters in Sacramento that he needs one more start. He has had two in the Arizona League, two for the San Jose Giants, and now one with Sacramento. 

Cueto allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings, giving up two homers in his debut in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. He gave up six hits but walked none while striking out three. 

"The most important thing is he was healthy throughout the outing," Bochy said. "He'll be ready to go five days from now."

Bochy wouldn't commit to a firm timetable, but the Giants have had Cueto set for two in Sacramento all along. They'll evaluate him again Saturday, but that is almost certainly going to be the final step of a rehab process that has lasted more than a year. 

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