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Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Updated: October 10, 10:26 AM ET
Mat Latos or Mike Leake for Game 4

ESPN.com news services

The Cincinnati Reds have ruled out Johnny Cueto as an option to start Game 4 of the NLDS.

The Reds will either go with Mat Latos or Mike Leake to combat San Francisco Giants starter Barry Zito in the series.

Cueto
Cueto

Latos pitched four innings of relief in Game 1 in place of Cueto who threw just eight pitches before leaving with what initially was called back spasms but has since been described by the team as a mild right oblique strain.

"It's very difficult, but it all depends if your ace can't go, or whatever it is," Reds manager Dusty Baker as quoted on MLB.com. "So you have to go with the healthy bodies. You hate missing, that's part of the consideration, you know, is us going without (Cueto). We realize what's at stake, and that's part of the decision if a guy can -- if we think he's going to be able to go in the next series."

If Baker elects to start Leake, Cueto would be removed from the team's roster and wouldn't be able to return until the World Series, should the Reds advance that far.

The Reds lead the series 2-1 despite Tuesday's night's 10-inning loss. So far the road team has won each game in the series.

Despite the uncertainty for Game 4, the Reds have gotten impressive pitching performances out of their starters in Games 2 and 3.

Bronson Arroyo allowed one hit over seven innings to win Game 2, while Homer Bailey flirted with a no-hitter before earning a no-decision despite allowing one hit and one run while striking out 10 over seven innings in Game 3.

Game 4 is slated to start at 4:07 p.m. Wednesday with the Reds looking to book a trip to the NLCS with a victory.