SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Johnny Cueto showed off some orange-tinted dreadlocks beneath his off-kilter cap that will fit in perfectly with his new Giants colors.
The $130-million pitcher reported to camp Thursday and immediately called the rotation, featuring ace Madison Bumgarner and newcomer Jeff Samardzija, the best he’s ever been part of. After playing catch with closer Santiago Casilla, Cueto sat in the dugout at Scottsdale Stadium soaking in the scene of his new spring home.
Any nerves for Cueto at this stage after just winning it all with the Kansas City Royals?
“Claro que no” — of course not, he quipped. “Maybe if I were a rookie,” he said through translator Erwin Higueros. “I came from pitching in the World Series. I don’t get nervous.”
He is plenty funny, however. When told Bumgarner brought horses to spring training, Cueto cracked, “Maybe he will sell me one, or maybe he will gift me one.”
Manager Bruce Bochy figures Cueto will fit in well on a Giants team that has won the World Series in even years of late — 2010, ’12 and ’14 — with some different characters.
“We’ve been called misfits, cockroaches,” Bochy said. “This is as solid as I think we’ve been, and that’s saying a lot.”
Cueto was among the big-name pitchers reporting to new camps. David Price made his first big-money throws of spring training as Boston’s prized offseason acquisition, while new Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke began Day 1 with his new club by drilling on the basics of covering first base.
Those arms are being counted on to bring heat.
Greinke, signed to a $206.5 million, six-year contract with surprise suitor Arizona, was picked as the Diamondbacks’ opening day starter in what manager Chip Hale called the easiest decision he has had to make. The right-hander is scheduled for his first bullpen session Friday.
Price brought his new $217 million, seven-year deal to Red Sox camp with similar fanfare, while Samardzija, at $90 million, began getting in sync with his new catcher, Buster Posey.