GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — Johnny Cueto was scratched because of a sore back Thursday, giving Cincinnati another concern about its pitching staff, but the Reds rallied for a 5-4 victory over the Texas Rangers on Joey Votto's bases-loaded walk in the 10th inning.
Cueto was skipped on the same day closer Aroldis Chapman was having surgery for fractures above his left eye and nose after he was struck by a batted ball Wednesday night. Two starters have been limited as well: Mat Latos is recovering from knee surgery at the start of camp and Homer Bailey was scratched from his last scheduled start because of a sore groin.
Reds manager Bryan Price expects Cueto to make his next start March 25 in a minor league game and pitch six innings.
Geovany Soto singled home a pair of runs in the first inning off Jeff Francis, who took Cueto's place. Soto, slowed by injuries this spring, raised his batting average to .400.
Prince Fielder hit his second homer off Sam LeCure for a 4-1 Texas lead. Brandon Phillips homered for the Reds.
Rangers: Robbie Ross made his fourth appearance and second start of the spring. Ross last pitched in relief against Cincinnati on March 14 when he threw four scoreless innings, allowing five hits. He is competing for a spot in the Rangers' rotation.
"He's throwing the ball extremely well," manager Ron Washington said. "He was getting ahead of batters and putting them away. He needs to keep pitching and we'll decide."
Reds: Francis was signed to provide depth for the rotation in case of injury. With Cueto, Latos and Bailey hampered, he has a chance to make the team if one of them isn't ready.
"I'm here to fill a certain role for this team, whatever that is," Francis said. "You never want to see someone get hurt."
Rangers: Second baseman Brent Lillibridge left the game with a tight right hamstring. It will be examined on Friday. ... Shortstop Elvis Andrus will be examined Friday for soreness in his right forearm, which has been bothering him this spring. ... Shin-Soo Choo was the designated hitter, his sixth game in that role. Choo is bothered by soreness in his left elbow. ... First baseman-outfielder Mitch Moreland is day to day with a strained left oblique, which forced him out of a game Monday. He's hitting off a tee.
Continue reading this story on the...