The long and winding road back to the major leagues for Mat Latos included offseason knee and elbow surgeries, countless hours of rehab and trips to Louisville, Columbus and Pawtucket, R.I. He hasn’t pitched for the Reds since last September, but is expected to be activated from the disabled list Saturday and make his first start of 2014 in Milwaukee.
His wife Dallas summed up her and Mat’s frustration Monday on Twitter.
“I don’t mean to be psycho about rehab starts,” she wrote, “but the DL roller coaster we’ve been living on since Oct. has been pretty brutal. Not gonna lie.”
Latos went 2-0 with a 2.33 ERA in four starts for Triple-A Louisville. He didn’t think he needed the fourth start and called himself a “puppet on a string” last week before he was sent to Pawtucket. He was still stinging a bit from the Reds’ decision on Tuesday.
“(Manager Bryan Price) said you’re in line for your next start,” a member of the media told Latos on Tuesday.
“Saturday in Louisville?” Latos said.
That was only half a joke. Latos knows he’s done with the minor leagues for now.
If Latos starts Saturday, he would take Tony Cingrani’s place in the rotation. Manager Bryan Price said a decision has not been made about Cingrani: whether to keep him with the Reds but in the bullpen or to send down to Louisville.
Latos returns at a good time because Cingrani (2-7, 4.68 ERA) has lost all five starts since returning from the DL himself in May.
“I was ready five, six days ago,” Latos said. “But that’s life. It doesn’t matter. I’m just ready to get in line and go pitch whenever they say I can pitch.”
Latos threw 100 pitches Monday. He threw the last 18 in the bullpen when rain delayed the game.
“Everything was fine,” Latos said. “The velocity was there: 93, 94, 95. I was throwing 90 mph sliders. I threw a couple of pitches I normally wouldn’t do in a big league game that led to a few walks, but in the end, it helped me get the pitch count up. Back to back changeups to start a guy off. I threw 3-2 changeups. I threw 2-2 changeups. I was just trying to work on some stuff and get the pitch count up. The changeup had good movement. I got a couple strikeouts on it. I got a couple strikeouts on the fastball.”