Signing a veteran like Johnny Cueto has several ramifications. Just watch the first two days of the Marlins’ practice at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium and you can see the effects.
On Monday morning, the Dominican let go of the arm with his compatriots Sandy Alcántara and Edward Cabrera. On Tuesday, Cueto and Cabrera paired up before having a bullpen session.
Then they jogged together. “You know that she will be here with you. [Cabrera]”Marlins pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. said of Cueto. “I told him, ‘Cabby, meet your new partner.’ Johnny likes to work and he is very serious about his work, and he also knows how I like things done.
“He has done it for a long time. I recognize that. You can offer a lot of advice to the younger ones who are still learning various things and trying to overcome some obstacles. It will be very important for the coaching staff”.
Along with all the fanfare his debut with the Marlins generated, the 15-year major league veteran comes to the Marlins team with plenty of experience. Next month, Cueto will be competing in the World Baseball Classic.
Although the native of San Pedro de Macorís did not mention a specific person who has helped him at the beginning of his career, he did mention that he has received many tips and suggestions during his time in his last four organizations.
“I have a good relationship with Latino pitchers and also with North American pitchers,” Cueto said. “I am very humble, so I try to help. Sharing my talent, all my experience and helping the youngest, so that they can get 100% out of their games”. Cabrera, 24, shone in 2022 with a 135 ERA+ and 1.07 WHIP in 14 starts.
The former baseball Top 100 prospect missed time with tendonitis in his right elbow, but showed his potential when healthy. Miami hopes that now he can take the big step with Cueto as a mentor.
It all starts with arriving prepared for training, something they both did. Cueto, who turns 37 this Wednesday, knows that he has to work hard to stay in shape, since he is not the same age as several of his teammates. Due to his personal training, Cueto didn’t have to alter his offseason routine to get ready for the World Classic.
“That is why the work I do makes me proud; it’s what keeps me in the game,” Cueto said. “I keep doing it always. I am proud to always work hard. When I stop doing it, it’s because I’m going home.”
There was some anticipation when Cueto worked Tuesday with catcher Jacob Stalling, who caught every pitch thrown by reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Alcantara last season.
Among those who witnessed the session were Cabrera, left-hander Braxton Garrett, general manager Kim Ng and assistant general managers Brian Chattin and Oz Campo, along with minor league directors of operations Hector Crespo and Terry Collins.