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Reds' Cueto returns to Cincinnati

The SportsXchange

Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto, who had to leave Saturday's start in San Francisco in the first inning because of back spasms, returned to Cincinnati on Sunday to get further treatment.

"I saw him before he went back. He said he felt a lot better this morning," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told "He's going back to get treatment back there rather than flying all night with us."

Reds manager Dusty Baker said before Sunday's game against the Giants that Homer Bailey, originally scheduled to start Game 4, will start Game 3, not Cueto.

"Homer is our Game 3 option," Baker said. "You can't take a chance with Johnny, and we have to see exactly. We can't have him go out there again and have something else happen to him and come up short again. When he goes back out there, we will make sure to the best of our knowledge that he's OK."

Cueto struck out Giants leadoff hitter Angel Pagan Saturday night but felt his back spasm on a 0-1 pitch to second batter Marco Scutaro.

The Reds would prefer not to replace Cueto on their NLDS roster. If he is removed, he would not be eligible for the NL Championship Series if the Reds advance.

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