Cincinnati Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto has been diagnosed with a mild strain of his right oblique muscle, putting his availability for the remainder of the postseason in jeopardy, reports John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer:
Johnny Cueto’s back spasms turned out to be a mild strain of the right oblique. That is a much worse diagnosis.
[Head trainer Paul] Lessard could not put a timetable on when Cueto might be able to pitch.
Lessard added that the Reds are attempting every conceivable treatment to get Cueto healthy and back out on the mound. Cincinnati initially hoped that Cueto could return in time to start Game 4 but that plan has been shelved because of the oblique strain diagnosis.
Cueto started Game 1 of the series against the San Francisco Giants but only lasted a third of an inning before his back spasms became too much, giving Cueto the misfortune of recording the shortest start in postseason history.
The Reds can move Cueto off of their Division Series roster if they need the pitching help -- likely activating Mike Leake -- but doing so would also make Cueto ineligible for the Champion Series, if/when Cincinnati makes it that far. If Cueto is removed from the Division Series roster, he would be eligible to pitch in the World Series.
UPDATE 7:50 ET:
Cueto has been officially removed from the Reds' playoff roster:
RT @injuryexpert: Cueto removed from NLDS roster, replaced with Game 4 starter Leake. Cueto out for NLCS, could come back for World Series.— Ray Ratto (@RattoCSN) October 10, 2012