Johnny Cueto slipped inside the visiting manager’s office at Progressive Field just before 4 on Tuesday afternoon. Inside the room awaited manager Ned Yost, pitching coach Dave Eiland and assistant general manager Rene Francisco. The group gathered for about 15 minutes before Cueto rejoined his teammates.
“We just want him to get back to being Johnny Cueto,” Yost said.
Otherwise, Yost declined to discuss the specifics of the meeting, one of several the coaching staff conducted before Tuesday’s game. Yost and Eiland also met with veteran starter Edinson Volquez. Eiland conducted a 30-minute session with the entire pitching staff.
Losers of eight of their last 10 heading into Tuesday, the Royals must solve a variety of issues as they prepare for October. But none may loom larger than Cueto. He has posted a 9.57 ERA in his last five games, including an eight-run pounding by Baltimore on Sunday. Cueto will start again on Friday against the Tigers at Comerica Park.
In that last outing, Cueto shied away from using his fastball, Yost said. The team wanted Cueto to relieve the internal pressure they felt he had placed on himself, trust his arsenal and stop over-manipulating his delivery. Cueto denied an excess of weight on his shoulders, after joining the team before the trade deadling in July, but that opinion has been offered by Yost, Eiland and general manager Dayton Moore in recent days.
In the meantime, the organization continues to insist Cueto feels healthy. He has not acknowledged any discomfort in his elbow or shoulder, trainer Nick Kenney said. Cueto has passed strength tests and shown no changes in his arm’s range of motion.
“This guy’s never come off the mound,” Kenney said. “He’s never skipped a bullpen. He’s never done any of that stuff. And all you do is you work with him on a daily basis. We put our hands on him each and every day. There’s been no indication, in regards to the work that’s we’ve done with him, that shows us that he is.”