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CINCINNATI -- Right-hander Johnny Cueto went back on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a sore muscle behind his pitching shoulder, the second time this season that the Cincinnati Reds have lost their top starter to the injury.
Cueto was scheduled to start the final game of a series against the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday. Instead, right-hander Pedro Villarreal was called up from Triple-A Louisville to take his place.
It was Villarreal's turn to start for Louisville on Wednesday, making him the first choice for the promotion. He made one relief appearance for the Reds at the end of last season.
Cueto was on the disabled list from April 15 to May 19 with a strained muscle behind his right shoulder. He made three starts after his return, going 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA. He allowed only one hit in eight innings of a 6-0 win in Pittsburgh on Friday, but told the Reds afterward that he felt some discomfort in the same area during his final inning.
"I thought it was going to be a momentary thing, something little, but it's still early," Cueto said after a workout Wednesday, with assistant trainer Tomas Vera translating. "We have a lot of the season to go, and I want to be able to help the team when they really need it."
Cueto said the problem is in roughly the same spot -- the bottom of the back of his shoulder -- but not nearly as severe.
"It's not even close to what it was," Cueto said. "When I throw or play catch, I don't feel anything. When I put more into it, I didn't want to hurt it more."
The Reds waited until Wednesday to put him on the disabled list because they wanted to see if the soreness went away after his start in Pittsburgh. They finally chose the DL in hopes it will give the shoulder time to heal completely.
"It's the same thing he had before," manager Dusty Baker said. "He felt it a little bit after he pitched in Pittsburgh. He told us after the game he felt it. It's not as bad as last time. We want to be precautious with it."
Baker said the Reds are optimistic that Cueto can return in two weeks.
"He doesn't have to go back to square one like he did the last time," Baker said. "He'll continue training."
The Reds also told outfielder Chris Heisey that he'll start a rehab assignment on Friday in Louisville. Heisey became the starter in left field after Ryan Ludwick tore cartilage in his right shoulder while sliding into third base on opening day.
Heisey pulled his right hamstring and went on the disabled list April 29. He was close to returning when he pulled it again.
"I just feel better," Heisey said. "I know it's better. Looking back, I probably rushed it. It's ready to play. It was no one's fault other than mine."
Heisey expects to play several games at Louisville, given that he's been sidelined for so long.