SAN FRANCISCO — The last person a pitcher wants to see is Dr. James Andrews.
But that’s exactly who Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto could be paying a visit to on the team’s upcoming road trip.
One of the most high-profile orthopedic surgeons in the country, Andrews is a specialist who has operated on dozens of Major League Baseball players.
The Giants are hopeful Cueto is not the next.
San Francisco placed the National League ERA leader on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday with right elbow inflammation and manager Bruce Bochy said Wednesday the team isn’t ready to rule out a possible UCL injury.
“I don’t think you rule out anything,” Bochy said. “That’s why we’re looking at the MRIs and getting different opinions. As far as the rehab part, too, how long it’s going to take to get him back.”
Andrews is based in the southeast, and the Giants leave for Atlanta after their series finale against the Padres on Wednesday.
Cueto is off to a dominant start, posting a 0.84 ERA through his first five outings of the year. While he missed one start due to a sprained ankle, an elbow injury is much more significant and could put the remainder of his season in jeopardy.
“Pretty amazing, really,” Bochy said of Cueto’s season to date. “I think you look at the numbers and his performance out there and it’s incredible what he’s been able to do. It’s been a little achy, especially the last two starts he could feel it.”
If Cueto’s UCL is torn, the right-hander could be forced to undergo Tommy John surgery and miss at least the next 12 months. The Giants are hopeful the pain Cueto has felt isn’t the result of a tear, and that he’ll be able to rehab his injury without needing surgery.
“It’s just a matter of putting all of our heads together,” Bochy said. “I’m talking about our medical people deciding the type of rehab and what needs to be done.”
Cueto missed six weeks last summer with a blister issue and a forearm strain, but appeared to be completely healthy during spring training this year. Bochy said Cueto has felt soreness in his elbow dating back to his start in Anaheim on April 22.