Giants’ Cueto starts camp ‘stronger than normal’
Even though he just got to spring training, San Francisco pitcher Johnny Cueto says he’s probably ahead of where he normally is in preparing for the season.
“It wasn’t like I was in the Dominican just sitting down. I was working really hard because I knew I was missing time. Maybe a little stronger than normal,” Cueto said Saturday at Scottsdale (Ariz.) Stadium in his first full day at camp.
The 31-year-old all-star said he was working out at the Giants’ academy in the Dominican Republic. He was given permission by the team to arrive later because he was helping his ailing father, Domingo, who was in the hospital for 10 days earlier this year after suffering what Cueto described Saturday as “prestroke” symptoms.
“He had some problems with his kidneys, something wrong with his head,” Cueto said through an interpreter. “He was just not right. He was not recognizing anybody. He is better now.
“Because I am the head of the family, I felt that I needed to stay there just to make sure that nothing worse happened to him. I thought if I was to report and something did happen to my dad, that it would have been worse to go back since taking in account the distance. I talked to the GM, manager, pitching coach and got their blessing to go ahead and stay behind and take care of my family as long as I did my workout at the academy.”
Cueto and his father arrived Friday in Arizona, and now the pitcher just has to get into his routine. He took things more slowly a year ago after helping the Kansas City Royals to victory in the 2015 World Series, but this time he said he’s nearly ready to go and is just waiting to see where he fits into the Giants’ spring plans.
“I’m happy to be here. I feel good, but I think I need time to adjust to the guys here,” he said.
Giants Manager Bruce Bochy was also glad to see Cueto, who went 18-5 last year.
“He looked good,” Bochy said Saturday. “We’ll see where he’s at tomorrow and give him a few days to get acclimated.” . . .
In other Giants news, coach Jose Alguacil needed surgery to repair a broken nose after being hit by a foul ball during a spring training game in Surprise, Ariz.
Alguacil was hit in the face and fell to the ground. He was sitting in a folding chair outside the dugout, and Bochy said the Giants’ new first base coach said he felt fine after the accident.
The Giants said Alguacil had surgery to address the nose and a “deep laceration.” He also has small fractures in his eye socket.
METS: Moments after Jacob deGrom blew a first-inning fastball by Josh Reddick for a strikeout, he circled the mound and caught a glimpse of the radar reading on the scoreboard: 97 mph.
“Definitely a good feeling,” deGrom said.
Making his first start since September’s surgery to reposition the ulnar nerve in his right elbow, deGrom worked two perfect innings in West Palm Beach, Fla., for New York, striking out two in a 3-1 win over Houston.
ASTROS: Right-hander Lance McCullers felt strong following a simulated game in West Palm Beach, Fla. His next stop could be a Grapefruit League mound, maybe as early as next week.
McCullers has been on a tailored throwing program this spring as he works his way back from an elbow strain that shortened his 2016 season.
He threw 43 pitches to catcher Evan Gattis on a back field in an outing that simulated three innings, showcasing a fastball that touched 95 mph.
“It went well,” McCullers said. “I’m feeling good. I’m feeling better and better every time I go out as far as my ability to make pitches.”
TIGERS: Closer Francisco Rodriguez had control trouble in his only game action before leaving to join Venezuela for the World Baseball Classic, walking two in a brief stint.
Rodriguez had been scheduled to take the mound Wednesday, but the outing was pushed back because of hamstring tightness. Instead, he relieved in the fifth inning in Lakeland, Fla., against the New York Yankees and exited with the bases loaded and two outs.
“Overall, I feel great,” Rodriguez said. “My body feels great. Threw the pitches I normally do during the season, which is what I care about.”
CUBS: Manager Joe Maddon, Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist and Kyle Schwarber were among a group that shaved their heads in the annual Respect Bald event to benefit cancer research.
Kris Bryant hit a grand slam in a 9-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Mesa, Ariz., and Kyle Hendricks pitched two scoreless innings.
Johnny Cueto returns after going 18-5. He was given permission to arrive late to Giants camp because he was helping his ailing father.