GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds starter Johnny Cueto, who had the inside track to be the Opening Day starter, was scratched from his scheduled Thursday outing because of an irritation in the area near his right scapula behind his shoulder. Jeff Francis replaced Cueto for the start against the Rangers.

"He could pitch today," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He could pitch comfortably but it's irritated. He feels it more when he's done throwing. So we're going to skip him one start."

The plan is for Cueto to pitch six innings, and up to 90 pitches, on Tuesday. It would either be against the A's or in a Minor League game. Cueto has a 4.61 ERA in four starts this spring, but three of his four games have been excellent outings.

"He's had that little bit of sensation but it hasn't prevented him from pitching or throwing his bullpens or doing PFP [pitchers' fielding practice] or anything. Instead of allowing it to be a nagging issue, we decided that we would take care of it today."