Johnny Cueto has been struggling with blisters all season. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Johnny Cueto has been struggling with blisters all season. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

World Baseball Classic looms as dilemma for Cueto, Giants

More than a week after San Francisco Giants players started descending on Scottsdale, the club is still waiting on the arrival of Johnny Cueto, who’s back home in the Dominican Republic tending to his ill father.

Manager Bruce Bochy told reporters on Monday there’s no set date for when the dreadlocked right-hander will report, but added that Cueto has been throwing at the organization’s academy on his native island.

Cueto’s ongoing absence is an emerging issue for the Giants and the starter, as the veteran is scheduled to pitch in the World Baseball Classic for the Dominican Republic. The team begins play on March 9.

“We started early, and he’ll have plenty of time to get ready [for the regular season],” Bochy told reporters. “Now, the question is, will he be ready for the [Classic]? That’s the question we’re going to have to answer now. That’s why we’re going to try to call him, get a hold of him and see exactly where we’re at. He’ll be honest with us.”

Racing into the WBC off an abbreviated spring is not an ideal scenario for the Giants. Along with co-ace Madison Bumgarner and new stopper Mark Melancon, Cueto is among the triumvirate of indispensable Giants’ arms.

Cueto also has plenty of incentive to err on the side of caution heading into the season. The 31-year-old will make $21 million in 2017 as he pitches the second season of his six-year, $130 million pact with the Giants.

However, Cueto, who was fifth in the National League in ERA (2.79) last year, can also opt out of his deal at season’s end and hunt for an even larger payday on the open market.

Mays in the house
Hall of Famer, living legend and special assistant to the president Willie Mays was in attendance at the Giants training facility on Monday. Mays, 85, was the star of the clubhouse — especially with new members of the Orange and Black — per CSN Bay Area.

Kaval says A’s are ‘doubling down’ on Oakland
Continuing on the pro-Oakland media tour that Dave Kaval launched as soon as he signed on as the Oakland Athletics club president, the exec reiterated in an interview with the Sports Business Journal that he’s all in on The Town.

“We believe the city of Oakland can support a major league team in a real way and we’re doubling down on that,” Kaval said.

The president also explained his vision for how the stadium project will dovetail with the on-field product.

“We’re looking very closely at what the [Cleveland] Indians did in the early ’90s [under GM] John Hart and really assembling a nucleus of young players, peaking at the right time to open a new ballpark,” Kaval said.

The park will be privately financed, but the team is open to receiving help from the city and the county to foot the bill for any required infrastructure projects. Kaval also said he isn’t simply looking to build AT&T East.

“You go there, it’s very expensive. Obviously, they have a great fan experience, but some people want something a little different than San Francisco kind of elitism,” Kaval said.

“They want more of a people’s team. And that’s the East Bay. You come to the East Bay, it’s a little more working-class, reminds me of growing up in Cleveland. Great fan base. Energized. Excited.”MLB

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