CINCINNATI -- Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto chose not to appeal a seven-game suspension for his role in Tuesday's scuffle vs. the Cardinals and will begin serving his punishment on Friday. That means right-hander Homer Bailey will replace Cueto for Sunday's start vs. the Marlins. Reds manager Dusty Baker said the decision was made after a meeting with Cueto, his agent and general manager Walt Jocketty. "With our pitching situation, the way things line up, it will be better if he misses one start and he'll have one extra day from when he ordinarily would start," Baker said. "So maybe this will make him even better and stronger. He can train, train and more train."
Cueto will be eligible to return for the Aug. 21 game vs. the Dodgers at Los Angeles. His next start date was not announced. Even his missing one start is a blow to the Reds since the 24-year-old is 11-3 with a 3.38 ERA in 23 starts. In issuing its ruling about the suspension on Thursday, Major League Baseball said that Cueto engaged "violent and aggressive actions during the incident." He also received an undisclosed fine. Although it was the Reds' Brandon Phillips and the Cardinals' Yadier Molina that got the bench-clearing incident started, it was Cueto who received the harshest punishment. The starting pitcher for Cincinnati that night and wearing spikes, Cueto could be seen kicking Cardinals players from the backstop screen, including Jason LaRue in the head. Phillips, Molina and two other players received undisclosed fines from the altercation. Baker and Cardinals manager Tony La Russa each received two-game suspensions. Bailey has not started for the Reds since May 23 against the Indians. He's been on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. He is 1-2 with a 5.51 ERA in nine starts for the Reds, but was 2-1 with a 1.44 ERA, four walks and 17 strikeouts in four games -- including three starts -- on his Minor League rehab assignment. He last pitched a scoreless inning of relief on Tuesday for Triple-A Louisville. A roster move will be needed to get Bailey back on the roster. Cueto can't be replaced on the 25-man roster and the Reds will in effect be shorthanded while he is out.