Johnny Cueto: Windup may be issue

Johnny Cueto, whom the Cincinnati Reds will activate to return to the rotation Monday night against the New York Mets after a month's absence for a back injury, said he has been considering wholesale adjustments to his windup in an effort to avoid future injury.

Despite the ace's recent success, Cueto said he has questioned whether his delivery is the key to overcoming injury problems.

"I was discussing it with the head trainer, 'Do you think my windup is too strong and that's why I am getting so many muscle injuries?'" Cueto said Sunday in Spanish, according to ESPN Deportes contributor Will Gonzalez.

Cueto said he would be able to change his windup in midseason. He was sidelined again last month with a strained back after pulling an oblique muscle in an October playoff game against the Giants.

"I could change it just like that because I started doing it just like that and it went well for me," Cueto said, referring to a 2011 adjustment. "Let's see what happens. Maybe I just practice it in the Dominican Republic after the season is over.

"But I have to change my form because I can't keep getting injured, although these things happen in sports. I work a lot over the winter to be hampered by injuries like this during the season."

Cueto, who made two minor league rehab starts this month without trouble, is 1-0 with a 2.60 ERA in three starts for the Reds, a year after a career-best season in which he finished third in the NL in wins with 19 and third in ERA at 2.78.

"I am doing a lot of ab exercises and stretching," said Cueto, in reference to the physical therapy he has undergone in the past five weeks. In addition, he pitched twice for the Reds' Class A club in Dayton, Ohio, during that period.

"I pitched about five innings clean, and all the pitches were good and I felt nothing bother me. I hope the pain is gone," Cueto said.