PHILADELPHIA -- For now, the Giants appear to have caught a break.
Johnny Cueto was diagnosed with a sprained right elbow on Monday, per a source, but Dr. James Andrews did not recommend season-ending Tommy John surgery, as team officials feared last week. Cueto will need to rehab for six to eight weeks.
Cueto was shut down last week because of continued discomfort in his pitching elbow. He saw multiple specialists in a bid to find a rehab route.
Cueto, 32, dealt with right flexor discomfort last season but returned to pitch down the stretch. He did not take the opt-out in his contract after the season, and in April, that looked like the best thing that happened to the Giants in 2017. In five starts, Cueto had an MLB-leading 0.84 ERA.
Without Cueto, and with Madison Bumgarner still rehabbing a fractured finger, the Giants will rely on an extremely young rotation for at least another month. Chris Stratton, in his first full season as a big league starter, is the de facto ace of the staff right now.
Jeff Samardzija and Derek Holland are the veterans, but they have gotten off to slow starts. Ty Blach and Andrew Suarez round out the group, with Suarez taking Cueto's spot in the rotation.