Joe Kelly watched as starter Johnny Cueto progressed to Triple-A Charlotte while Chicago White Sox reliever was on a rehab assignment.
He gave positive reviews.
“Johnny Cuto looked good,” Kelly said last week. “Johnny is a great dude. He impresses the hitters with timing, multiple looks, leg kicks, slide steps. Johnny does this to try to balance people and he’s a master at it. He’s all he needs to strike.” Was commanding the pitches.”
Cueto has joined the Sox in Kansas City and will open Monday’s game against the Royals at Kaufman Stadium.
The Sox bought the contract for Cueto from Charlotte.
After signing with the Sox as a minor league free agent on April 8, the veteran started 0-1 with a 5.17 ERA and 17 strikes in four with Charlotte.
“Road games weren’t just because the umpires – I wouldn’t say they weren’t ready for Johnny, but when I saw him pitch with the automatic strike zone? PFFT. Success. He could dot,” said Kelly “Some umpires leave some way for his balls to move, and they move a ton. So when he’s flipping pitchers and they’re striking in the strike zone, but the umpire feels That it is run out, it could put him in trouble.
“But these guys are here, the big league umpires, they know. They know Johnny, they know how it goes. He looks great. He is definitely going to help us this year.”
Cueto, 36, is 135-97 with 3.45 ERA in 330 appearances (329 starts) during a 14-year career with the Cincinnati Reds (2008-15), Royals (2015) and San Francisco Giants (2016-21).
The right-hander is a two-time All-Star (2014, 2016), finished second in National League Cy Young Award voting in 2014 and is 2-4 with a 4.54 ERA in eight career postseason starts. He made four starts in the 2015 postseason with the World Series champion Royals.
Cueto went 7-7 in 2021 with a 4.08 ERA in 22 outings (21 starts).
In Monday’s same roster move, the Sox selected infielder Danny Mendick for Charlotte.