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CIN@PIT: Cueto dazzles over eight, surrenders one hit

Johnny Cueto will make his third first start of the 2013 season for the Reds on Sunday. The first two went well enough, a seven-inning three-hitter on Opening Day and a five-inning three-hitter on May 20 in his return from a right lat injury that sidelined him for more than a month.

On Sunday at Great American Ball Park, Cueto will look for another quality return, this time from a right shoulder strain that placed him on the 15-day disabled list in early June. He will face Brewers right-hander Wily Peralta in the rubber match of the three-game series.

Through translator Tomas Vera, Cueto said he feels good and does not expect any problems Sunday, but the injury was clearly still lingering in his mind.

"As a human being, you know how we are. We're always going to have thoughts," the right-hander said. "I pray to God everything goes well, but it's hard to take something out of your mind like that."

Cueto, who says no pitch count has been put in place for Sunday, has been nearly unhittable when healthy this season. He is 3-0 with a 2.17 ERA in six starts, and he tossed eight shutout innings and allowed just one hit in his last outing, when his injury resurfaced, on May 31 against the Pirates.

The 24-year-old Peralta has pitched inconsistently this season but did throw a quality start his last time out on Tuesday against the Marlins. He threw six innings of five-hit, three-run ball.

Brewers: Team continues life without Braun
Ryan Braun has been out of the Brewers lineup for nearly a week with a nagging right hand injury, but the team faced the reality of an extended period without its best player when he was placed on the 15-day DL on Friday.

Braun took batting practice before Friday's opener with the Reds in a last-ditch effort to avoid the DL, but he experienced more of the same sharp pain he has described as an inflamed nerve between his right thumb and index finger, forcing the Brewers to make a move.

"It's just like anything. When Aramis [Ramirez] was out for a while, you go to Plan B," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I think with [Logan] Schafer playing well and being out there, we're OK. It changes our lineup some, because I'm not going to put Schafer in the third spot -- at least right now, anyway. You go through these things in a season, almost every year, you go through it with somebody."

The left-handed hitting Schafer has manned left field in Braun's absence and has hit well in the first two games in Cincinnati. He went 3-for-5 in the series opener on Friday and 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs on Saturday.

Schafer is hitting .270 (24-for-89).

• Outfielder Caleb Gindl made his Major League debut on Saturday, striking out in a pinch-hit appearance in the seventh inning.

Gindl was called up from Triple-A Nashville after Braun was placed on the DL and was the sixth Brewer to make his Major League debut this season.

Reds: Broxton to DL, Villarreal called up
The Reds placed right-handed reliever Jonathan Broxton on the 15-day DL, retroactive to Friday, with a flexor mass strain in his right elbow.

Broxton, who turns 29 on Sunday, is 0-for-3 in save opportunities with a 4.33 ERA this season.

The Reds recalled right-hander Pedro Villarreal from Triple-A Louisville to take Broxton's roster spot. Villarreal struggled when he made a spot-start for Cueto on June 5, but he might not be in Cincinnati for too long.

Manager Dusty 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.

Worth noting:
• With Saturday's 6-0 win, the Brewers snapped the Reds' five game winning streak over Milwaukee at Great American Ball Park.

• Brewers third baseman Ramirez has hit .333 (13-for-39) with four home runs and 10 RBIs off Cueto in his career. Comments