GOODYEAR, Ariz. – Johnny Cueto will make his third straight Opening Day start Monday against the Cardinals, manager Bryan Price announced Thursday.
Cueto will be the 14th Reds pitcher since 1900 to make three or more Opening Day start. (See the others below).
Price had to sort through a series of minor injuries, including Cueto's tender right shoulder, before making the final determination. Cueto missed his last turn because of soreness.
"When Johnny's been healthy, he's been our No. 1 starter, legitimately for the previous four years," Price said. "Keeping him healthy is the key. He only made 11 starts for us last year. Yesterday, I had him long toss. I asked him how he felt after it then made the decision."
Tony Cingrani will pitch the Opening Night game on Wednesday. He was the only starter in the rotation without an injury issue this spring.
Homer Bailey was skipped with a sore right groin and Mike Leake had slight pain in his abdomen. Bailey will start the final game of Cardinal series on Thursday and Leake will start the first game in New York against the Mets on Friday, followed by Cueto Saturday and Alfredo Simon Sunday.
Mat Latos will miss at least one start after minor elbow and knee surgery.
Brett Marshall, who may have been the No. 5 starter, strained a tendon in his right middle finger Wednesday and might go on the disabled list.
Mario Soto has the most Opening Day starts for the Reds - six (1982-86 and '88).
Aaron Harang (2006-2010) and Pete Donahue (1923-27) started five straight openers.
Jose Rijo had four straight (1992-95).
Nine other Reds have three starts: Tom Browning (1987, '90-91), Tom Seaver (1978-79, '81), Gary Nolan (1969, '71, '76), Jim O'Toole (1961, '63, '65), Ewell Blackwell (1947-48, '51), Bucky Walters (1942, '44-45), Paul Derringer (1936, '40-41), Si Johnson (1932-34) and Art Fromme (1909, '11, '13).
Cueto pronounced himself fit after a six-inning outing against the Reds' Class A Bakersfield Blaze on Tuesday.
His line wasn't pretty - six earned runs, seven hits, one walk and 11 strikeouts - but going six and coming out healthy was the bigger goal after missing his last scheduled start March 20.
"I threw everything fine," Cueto said. "I'm ready to go."
The Reds (14-17) broke camp Thursday after winning split-squad games over the D-Backs 9-1 in Goodyear and the Brewers 8-3 in Maryvale.
The Reds play in Pensacola Friday and Louisville Saturday before opening the season against the Cardinals Monday at Great American Ball Park.