CINCINNATI -- Manager Dusty Baker confirmed on Saturday that Reds ace Johnny Cueto, coming back from a right shoulder strain, will start the series finale against the Brewers on Sunday.
The move won't be official until then, as Cueto is not yet eligible to come off the DL, but the 27-year-old right-hander said he's ready to go.
"It feels really good right now," Cueto said through translator Tomas Vera.
Cueto is set to come off the DL for the second time this season. The first time, he was sidelined with a strained right lat for more than a month, but the injuries were similar. When healthy, Cueto has been his usual dominant self, going 3-0 with a 2.17 ERA in six starts.
No pitch limit has been put in place, according to Cueto, who simply plans to "get on the mound and throw." However, after battling back from injury twice this season, Cueto said the idea of hurting himself again might stick with him.
"We're always going to have thoughts," Cueto said. "I pray to God everything goes well, but it's hard to take it out of your mind like that."
Broxton sent to 15-day DL; Villarreal recalled
CINCINNATI -- After complaining of elbow soreness last week and being evaluated following the Reds' return from Chicago, Reds right-hander Jonathan Broxton has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Friday, with a flexor mass strain in his right elbow.
Although the last thing that Dusty Baker needed was to lose another reliever, the Reds manager said the injury tests came back as positive as he could have hoped.
"It actually turned out better than we thought," Baker said. "[Losing a reliever] was our worst fear, but at the same time, there's no structural damage and no ligament damage, which is a big plus."
Along with the strain, Baker said there's "inflammation in the joint."
Broxton has struggled this season, most recently blowing a save in Pittsburgh on June 2 before giving up the game-winning run in the 14th inning on Thursday. He's 0-for-3 in save opportunities with a 4.33 ERA.
Baker did everything he could to avoid using Broxton in the Reds' four-game series against the Cubs last week, while also not letting it leak that 28-year-old reliever was hurting. When the series finale on Thursday went into extra innings, he was forced to pitch Broxton for one inning, but not before doctors assured Baker that no further damage could be done.
"It couldn't get any worse," Baker said. "They didn't think it was structural then. If it was structural, we would have put him on the DL right away."
The best case scenario, according to Baker, is that Broxton could be ready to throw again in two or three days. But with the bullpen already taxed, he couldn't afford to just let Broxton heal without moving him to the DL. In a corresponding move, the Reds recalled right-hander Pedro Villarreal from Triple-A Louisville.
Villarreal struggled when he made a spot-start for Johnny Cueto on June 5, but he might not be in Cincinnati for too long. Baker hinted that Tony Cingrani, who's already on the 25-man roster after pitching in Cueto's place on Tuesday, might stick with the team to help out in the bullpen. In seven starts with Cueto on the DL, Cingrani has gone 3-0 with a 3.15 ERA.
Reds celebrate Vander Meer on anniversary of his feat
CINCINNATI -- It was only fitting that Homer Bailey -- the only active Red to throw a no-hitter -- took the hill to start Saturday's game against the Brewers. That's because Saturday was the 75th anniversary of former Red Johnny Vander Meer's second consecutive no-hitter, making him the only pitcher to ever do so.
On June 11, 1938, Vander Meer no-hit Boston in front of a light crowd at Crosley Field. Five days later against the Brooklyn Dodgers, Vander Meer pulled off one of the most impressive feats in Major League history by throwing his second consecutive no-hitter, this time with 38,748 in attendance for the first ever night game at Ebbets Field.
The Reds took Saturday as an opportunity to celebrate Vander Meer's historic accomplishment. Along with recognizing Bailey before the game against the Brewers, Jim Maloney and Tom Browning were on hand at the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum to take pictures and meet fans. Maloney is the only other pitcher to throw two no-hitters in a Cincinnati uniform, while Browning has the only perfect game in Reds history. The two were also introduced before the game.
The Reds Hall of Fame and Museum opened up an exhibit with Vander Meer items collected from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the Reds Museum itself. Finally, all fans attending Saturday's game received a free commemorative print to honor Vander Meer and the anniversary of his back-to-back no-hitters.
• Reliever Sean Marshall has been on the disabled list since May 24 with left shoulder inflammation. Manager Dusty Baker said he hasn't talked to the doctors recently about Marshall, but the 30-year-old lefty has said he feels good.
"Sean has a good attitude about it. He's in good spirits," Baker said. "But you can't always trust a player saying, 'Oh, I feel great.' At least he doesn't feel poorly. Hopefully, get him straight -- [Jonathan] Broxton straight -- and get everybody straight and finish strong."
Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.