The right-hander struck out four and walked one in five shutout innings, leading the Giants over the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates 5-4 on Tuesday night.
He was relieved by Kyle Barraclough in the sixth after throwing 69 pitches.
“Like it was Opening Day,” Cueto said.
Cueto, 33, was 3-2 with a 3.23 ERA in nine starts last season before he was shut down. He is in the fourth year of a six-year, $130 million contract.
“That was a special night for Johnny, just so much hard work and coming back from so much,” said Stephen Vogt, who caught Cueto’s comeback outing. “Getting to be a small part of that with him was pretty special for me. It’s been a long road for him to come back. He was just so happy today — before the game, during the game, after the game you could just tell he was having fun.”
Cueto went 1-2-3 in the first on 11 pitches with a strikeout and two groundouts before turning his cap around just for fun and pumping his fists.
He punched his hand into his glove in celebration, chomping his gum all the while.
“That’s my game, every time I pitch just try to have fun,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
The Phillie Phanatic makeover has been revealed
The Philadelphia Phillies played their spring training home opener on Sunday, and unveiled the new-look Phillie Phanatic.
Here’s a full breakdown of the Phanatic’s makeover, and the reason for the changes.
He has evolved, but clearly hasn’t matured. pic.twitter.com/Tmo5jHNQOB
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) February 23, 2020
See? We told you so.
MLB tells court attempts at cheating are part of sports
NEW YORK — Attempts at cheating are a part of sports, Major League Baseball said in urging a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit by fantasy contestants.
Five men sued MLB, MLB Advanced Media, the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox in federal court in Manhattan, claiming fraud, violation of consumer protection laws, negligence, unjust enrichment and deceptive trade practices by teams that violated MLB’s rules against the use of electronics to steal catchers’ signs. The five said they participated in DraftKings fantasy baseball contests.
“Rules violations — large and small, intentional and unintentional, technical and game-changing — are a never-ending source of sports television, talk radio, web and elevator commentary by sports pundits and fans alike,” MLB said Friday in papers submitted to U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff. “And fans’ general awareness of the potential for infractions is underscored in this case by the fact that clubs were publicly disciplined for electronic sign-stealing violations during the 2017 regular season.”
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred ruled last month that the Astros violated sign-stealing rules during home games en route to their World Series title in 2017 and again in 2018. He suspended manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for one season each, and both were fired by the team. Manfred fined the Astros $5 million, the maximum under MLB rules, and stripped the team of its next two first- and second-round draft picks.
He also is investigating allegations against the Red Sox.
In its papers, MLB cited a 2010 opinion by Judge Robert Cowen for a 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel that upheld the dismissal of a suit by a New York Jets season-ticket holder against the NFL, New England coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots over the Spygate scandal.
“It appears uncontested that players often commit intentional rule infractions in order to obtain an advantage over the course of the game,” Cowen wrote.
MLB maintained that “plaintiffs got exactly what they bargained for: contests determined by baseball players’ actual performance on the field, whatever the contributing factors, predictable or unpredictable, may have been” and added “not one plaintiff claims to have lost any fantasy baseball contest as a result of sign-stealing or otherwise.”
Houston submitted papers to dismiss, citing the Astros’ better performance on the road in 2017: The Astros hit .279 at home with 395 runs and 115 homers at home vs. road stats of .284, 501 runs and 123 homers.
Marlins’ Derek Jeter calls Astros scandal a ‘black eye’ for baseball
JUPITER, Fla. — Derek Jeter wishes baseball could change the subject.
“It’s like a slow drip of responses coming out from everyone,” Jeter said Monday at the Marlins’ spring training camp. “You hope at some point people can just move on. But look, it’s unfortunate. It’s a black eye for the sport.”
Jeter spoke publicly for the first time since commissioner Rob Manfred concluded the Astros violated rules by using a TV camera to steal catchers’ signs during their run to the 2017 World Series title and again in the 2018 season.
Manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended for one season and then fired by the team. The commissioner’s punishment has been widely criticized because players were not disciplined.
“When you talk about people trying to get an edge in baseball, I don’t think that’s anything new. People have been trying to do it for years,” Jeter said. “But, obviously, people took it way too far. And there are penalties for it. They’re paying the price.
“Regardless of what the penalties are, others are going to have their opinions on what they think should happen. You hope that over time it passes. But I’m sure this is going to sting for a while.”
Last month, Jeter came within one vote of being a unanimous pick for the Hall of Fame. As the New York Yankees‘ shortstop he was all about winning, but in his two seasons with the Marlins they’ve gone 120-203.
Miami’s farm system is much improved, however, and while Jeter declines to predict when the Marlins might become playoff contenders, he believes the depth of young talent will begin to pay dividends in 2020.
“This organization is in a lot better shape than when we took over,” he said. “We should be a lot better this year than we were last year. I’ve always preached competition. We have an organization that is layered with talent. Guys are going to start pushing, and that’s a good thing.”
Miami went 57-105 in 2019, the worst record in the National League. Many projections have the Marlins winning around 70 games this year.
Another challenge for Jeter is to put more fans in the seats. Last season the Marlins finished last in the NL in attendance for the 14th time in the past 15 years.
“From the interactions I’ve had, people are starting to get excited,” Jeter said. “We’re trying to earn the trust of the fan base. It takes a little time. We’re hoping more people are starting to trust us, and they come out and give us a chance.”
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