t became official at 11:30 this morning — Johnny Cueto is out and Mike Leake is in.

And Cueto is not only out for the rest of the National League Division Series, by removing him from the roster for the rest of the NLDS, by rules, Cueto is not eligible to pitch in the National Leaague Championship Series — if the Cincinnati Reds get there.

CUETO'S ROSTER replacement, Leake, gets the chance today to help the Reds get there when he starts Game 4 this afternoon against the San Francisco Giants, a chance to pitch the clincher.

If he doesn't succeed, then it is Mat Latos ready for the fifth and final game Thursday.

With Cueto nursing an oblique problem, the Reds notified Major League Baseball Tuesday night that they might request the removal of Cueto and the addition of Leake.

BUT THEY DIDN'T put in the official request until 10 a.m. today and the approval came at 11:30.

"In order to do it, you have to accept that the player you remove won't be available for the next round," said Reds general manager Walt Jocketty. "It was a very, very tough decision to make. But our medical staff felt that, at the very best, Cueto would only be able to pitch one game late in the next series, if we get there.

"So we thought the important of this game and the rest of this series versus the one game next time outweigh it all," said Jocketty. "But it certainly is tough taking a potential Cy Young winner out of your rotation, that's for sure."

JOCKETTY SAID CUETO'S injury is not as bad as the one that knocked rookie shortstop Zack Cozart out for nearly a month, also with an oblique injury