The Cincinnati Reds have officially removed right-hander Johnny Cueto from their NLDS roster, activating Mike Leake to start Game 4 Wednesday afternoon. Cueto was removed from his Game 1 start on Saturday after just ⅓ of an inning because of back spasms caused by a right oblique strain.
All playoff teams must receive MLB approval to make any changes to their roster in the midst of the series. It was briefly unclear whether the Reds would receive approval before game time, but general manager Walt Jocketty said the team had everything under control, per the Cincinnati Enquirer:
"We finally got approval from MLB this morning," Walt Jocketty said. "We removed Johnny from the playoff roster and added Leake. Johnny won’t eligible for the NLCS. That’s the rule."
While Cueto will be ineligible to return for the NLCS, he could return for the World Series if healthy and the squad makes it that far. Cueto's strain is not believed to be severe, but is still bad enough that the Reds' medical staff said the right-hander would only be able to make one start in the Championship Series at most.
The 24-year-old Leake (8-9, 4.58) will make his postseason debut at 4:00 ET Wednesday against the Giants.