Johnny Cueto is officially a Giant. The righty held up his new No. 47 jersey Thursday morning flanked by general manager Bobby Evans and team president Larry Baer, a huge grin spread across his face.
“I always try to have fun on the mound, Twitter, Instagram. I’m just a guy that likes to fool around.”
Cueto, a seemingly mild-mannered guy off the field, flashes a whole lot of spark on his social media accounts. His Instagram account is full of selfies, videos, horses and views. He’s an eccentric on the mound, as well, known for the shimmy shake he takes before each most pitches.
“That’s just me, that’s what I do. I just try to pitch and tell myself to relax. The movements that I do, it depends on the hitter, I always change it depending on who’s on the plate.”
So he has a windup quirk like fellow Dominican and Giant Juan Marichal — with the high leg — but Cueto says he’s never met him.
Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay
Cueto’s really had little connection to San Francisco before December; he was was out with an oblique injury during the Giants vs. Reds 2012 NLDS. But in three starts at AT&T Park, he’s held down a 1.69 ERA and hit a single home run. Watch out, Mad Bum.
Cueto said he’s happy to play at a pitcher’s park:
“I know I pitched in Cincinnati, it’s a hitters ballpark. A lot of opposing pitchers would ask me, how are you able to do this? But I just went out there and did my job. And now I’m in a pitcher’s park, but I’m just gonna continue to do what I’ve done in the past.”
How does he feel about pitching alongside Bumgarner, Peavy, Samardzija and company?
“I just feel that it’s already a great rotation, I just come over here to compliment the rest of the guys. I think that we all should be united, all five starting pitchers.”
He’s certainly got the hair-game down pat, with the exception of Matt Cain‘s short cut, Cueto’s long dreadlocks will fit right in with the rotation’s flowing-hair trend.
This final signing should just about round out the splashy pickups. A bountiful field of pitching free agents made 2015’s top tier starters must-grabs, said Evans:
“The reality is, as we set out in the offseason to improve our rotation, we added two significant workhorses and the track record that Johnny has and the success he’s had in the national league and in a much smaller ballpark now with a chance to pitch at AT&T with Buster Posey and our pitching staff, and our fans, we just look forward to the presence of him in our rotation.”
Baer said manager Bruce Bochy, who was at his son’s wedding Thursday, made the offseason terms clear:
“Get me 200 innings and I’ll figure out left field.”
The Giants could still make a small-scale adjustment out there, but Baer noted that Gregor Blanco‘s presence along with the emergence of Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson kept that position on the back burner, though they’re still keeping an eye out.
Cueto’s $130 million deal over six years plops him in the forefront of a suddenly strong Giants rotation. The deal also allows Cueto to opt out after two years and a $5 million buy out for 2022.
He passed his physical Wednesday, quelling some doubts about an injured pitching elbow.
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