MLB Spring Training 2012: Cincinnati Reds' Johnny Cueto Leads the Way

Bill FordCorrespondent IIIMarch 13, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 10:  Starting pitcher Johnny Cueto # 47 of the Cincinnati Reds throws against the Oakland Athletics during a spring training game at the Phoenix Municipal Stadium on March 10, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Cincinnati Reds right-handed starting pitcher Johnny Cueto has earned the top spot and will be the No. 1 pitcher in the starting rotation for the 2012 season.

Last season during spring training, Cueto was injured and was forced to miss the first month of the 2011 season.

Admitting that he did not work out as hard as he should have last year due to personal reasons, he said that he works harder and puts in more than he is expected to put in to remain healthy this season.

Cueto also said that he felt good and relaxed while pitching during his spring training pitching debut.

He has also taken on the role as a mentor for 21-year-old pitching prospect Daniel Corcino. Cueto watches Corcino pitch in spring training games and gives him advice, pointers and praise.

Corcino recognizes that Cueto is at the top of his game and he follows him around trying to absorb and pick up every detail that he can to learn from him.

Manager Dusty Baker refers to Corcino as Cueto Jr., and Corcino seems to enjoy that honor.

As busy as Cueto is working hard in spring training, it says a great deal about his character that he would take on the responsibility of being a mentor to a young prospect.

Cueto appears to be strong and healthy in spring training. He is young at 26-years-old and has not reached his prime just yet.

If he continues to grow and maintains his health, avoiding injuries like he suffered last season, 2012 could be a stellar season for him.