CINCINNATI — Mat Latos threw a pitch in the bullpen Friday, grabbed his arm, and flung his glove in frustration. There was pain in his forearm and the Cincinnati Reds immediately stopped his throwing session.
It is another giant step backward for the 6-6, 245 pound right hander who has encountered mishap after mishap after mishap since the end of last season.
So the return of Latos to the starting rotation continues on hold and it is not only costing the Reds valuable innings from a proven starter it is costing Latos sleepless nights.
"Throwing my glove kind of said everthing," said the man who was 14-7 last season with a 3.16 earned run average but underwent off-season surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow.
"It is frustrating after we take care of the problem (bone chips) that I had last year to get everything better. I’m trying to put this politely without flipping out — well, it is just frustrating."
To add misery, Latos was in spring training camp one week when his left knee collapsed and he tore the meniscus, necessitating surgery that caused him to go the entire spring without starting a spring training game.
"I took care of the bone chips to get fully healthy to come back stronger this year and now every time I make a step forward I take eight steps backward. I didn’t last a week in spring training before having the knee surgery, which was aggravating as hell."
At the end of spring training is was the back of the elbow that was, as he called it, "Barking at me a little bit. And no it is the forearm. We took care of the back of the elbow and I had no issues throwing in Arizona (at extended spring training). I threw two or three innings in Arizona, then I went to (Class AA) Pensacola in my last outing I was supposed to go five innings but it flared up on me, tightened up on me. We thought we had it hammered out but it came back on me."
Latos arrived at the ballpark early Saturday and underwent an MRI and said, "They think they have it pin-pointed as to what it is, but they want to make 100 per cent sure on what exactly is going on with it. I’m pretty much in the dark."
Asked if he might caused the forearm pain by overcompensating to protect his elblow, Latos said, "I throw a baseball for a living. I’m not a doctor. I couldn’t tell you.
"All I know is that it sucks both not being able to play and pain-wise," he added. "It stinks sitting here and not being able to take the ball. We’ve played the St. Louis Cardinals twice (six games over series), have a pretty tough scheduled the first month, and it sucks not be able to be out there — having me, Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey out there.
"It definitely bugs me and I’m having many nights of not sleeping," he added. "There is nothing more that I can do until they tell me what is going on. That’s the next step."
First-year manager Bryan Price made the adjustment by taking Alfredo Simon and placing him into the rotation and it has worked well. Simon has been effective. But he isn’t Mat Latos.
"Everything started fine in his bullpen session and then he threw a pitch that bothered the inside of his elbow," said Price. "We’re smart enough to know we had to shut him down. They are doing some testing to make see if there is anything beyond just some tightness and swelling in that area. We’re hoping that’s all it is and we’re optimistic that that is what it is. But it does mean a step back in he rehab process and when we’ll see him back here in Cincinnati."