Cueto's MRI reveals no tear in elbow

No timetable set for ace's return to Reds' rotation

Cueto's MRI reveals no tear in elbow

CINCINNATI -- Reds ace Johnny Cueto underwent an MRI exam on his right elbow on Tuesday afternoon and received good news. The test revealed no tears or structural damage in his elbow.

It is not yet known when Cueto will rejoin Cincinnati's rotation. The club will have a better idea when the right-hander resumes throwing on Wednesday. He will test the elbow by playing catch.

"I had the gut feeling that everything was going to be OK; I never thought it was going to be different," Cueto said via translator Tomas Vera. "But thank God after the test, everything came back good, like I thought it was going to be."

Cueto goes seven innings

While the test revealed inflammation that would be typical for a pitcher, Reds manager Bryan Price was among those relieved that Cueto's elbow received a clean bill of health.

"More than anything, it gives us peace of mind that there's really no major structural damage or injury that would linger or could get worse," Price said.

Cueto's scheduled start on Sunday against the Indians was skipped because he felt stiffness in the elbow. Although Cueto could have pitched, he and the club chose to exercise caution, with Raisel Iglesias stepping in as a replacement.

The best-case scenario would involve Cueto missing just the one start.

"As he throws, if he's pain-free and the stiffness is out, I think it makes sense that we would follow that with a bullpen [session]," Price said. "If everything went well with that, we would in turn slot him in the rotation."

Cueto is 3-4 with a 3.03 ERA in nine starts this season.

A 20-game winner last season and the runner-up for the National League Cy Young Award, Cueto can be a free agent after the 2015 season, at which point he's expected by many to be one of the more sought-after pitchers available. If the Reds, who entered play on Tuesday with an 18-26 record, continue to slide, he could also be a prime chip before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Cueto appreciated the Reds' cautious approach to this situation.

"I feel good that they take care of me this way," Cueto said. "I feel like they care about everything that happens with me. Now that it's nothing and I'm feeling good, all I want to do is get back and feel normal and get back and play."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.