Ex-Red Latos takes the mound for Dodgers
Mat Latos offered some harsh criticism for the Reds in spring training before cooler heads eventually prevailed when he visited Cincinnati months later.
The right-hander is likely still relishing his first matchup with his former club, however, and takes the mound in Thursday's series opener between the Los Angeles Dodgers and visiting Reds.
Latos (4-8, 4.67 ERA) went 28-11 over 65 starts for the Reds from 2012-13, but endured a tumultuous final season last year. He was limited to 16 starts due to making his debut June 14 following knee surgery and having his season cut short in September due to a bone bruise on his elbow.
The right-hander implied in an interview in February that he was rushed back after surgery, and described the 2014 clubhouse scene as a "circus." The Reds went 25-42 after the All-Star break and missed the playoffs for the first time in three years.
Latos, traded to Miami in December for Anthony DeSclafani and Chad Wallach, missed out on facing Cincinnati when the Marlins visited Great American Ball Park in June, though he took the opportunity to amend his words from spring training.
"It's done and over with, really," he said. "There was some stuff that I said that really shouldn't have come out of my mouth. You just take it in stride and do what you've got to do."
Reds manager Bryan Price, who initially fired back in February, shared similar feelings.
"I'm not going to get into any of the spring training stuff," he said. "We wish Mat well. I'd like to put that stuff behind us."
Latos, acquired by Los Angeles on July 30, is trying to bounce back from a difficult second start for his new club. He surrendered six runs over four-plus innings in Saturday's 6-5 loss at Pittsburgh, six days after holding the Angels to one run in six innings in his Dodgers debut.
He gave up two home runs against the Pirates, including the first of opposing pitcher Francisco Liriano's career, while snapping his quality start streak at five.
"Whatever he was doing, it wasn't working today," manager Don Mattingly told MLB's official website.
Latos went 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA in three starts against the Reds while with San Diego from 2009-11.
Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw have given him a tough act to follow after combining for 14 innings in Los Angeles' back-to-back shutouts against Washington. Kershaw flirted with a perfect game in Wednesday's 3-0 victory, retiring the first 16 batters he faced.
Cincinnati (50-62) won 7-3 at San Diego on Wednesday, just its second victory in eight games. Joey Votto was 3 for 4 with his 20th homer after batting .133 with five multi-strikeout games in his previous 10 contests.
Keyvius Sampson (1-1, 3.00) seeks his second career victory after holding Arizona to one run over six innings in a 4-1 road win Saturday. He's only allowed seven hits in 12 innings with 12 strikeouts.
"I'm here now just trying to buy more starts," he said. "That's all I'm doing day by day ... I don't know, until they tell me I have to throw a bullpen in two days I'm still on the bubble as far as my head. My attitude is the next (start) could be the last one so you want to leave it all out there."