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Latos to make fourth, and likely final, rehab start Monday

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Mat Latos is scheduled to make what he and the team hope will be his final rehab start today for Triple-A Louisville at Pawtucket.

Latos is expected to throw between 90 and 100 pitches in what will be his fourth rehab start after his most recent one was cut short by a calf cramp.

“He’ll go out there in search of that longer outing, that 90-plus pitch outing, and we hope to have him ready and in our rotation after that,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “

Latos has posted a 2.63 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 13.2 innings in his three previous rehab assignments, and he didn’t try to hide his anger when the club announced he would be making one more start in the minors after Wednesday’s outing ended after only 67 pitches.

He called the decision bogus and likened himself to “just a puppet on a string.”

Sunday morning Price said he agrees that Latos is probably ready to rejoin the rotation, but the Reds manager said it’s important for Latos to turn in a longer outing before doing so.

“I’m aware of some of his comments that he’s ready to pitch, and I believe to a certain extent he probably is,” Price said. “If we would have started him here I don’t think I would have worried that he was going to get injured. But that being said I would like to see the longer outing. I would like to be able to expect him to throw as many innings or pitches as the other four or five guys we currently have in the rotation are expected to throw, simply in large part because we don’t have a true long relief pitcher.

“If something happens to a starter early in a game, it can blow up our bullpen,” Price continued. “I’d like to know going into it that he’s capable of throwing 100 or 100-plus pitches.”

When it was mentioned to Price that whomever Latos replaces in the rotation could be used as a long reliever, he said, “That’s if we make that decision to keep that pitcher here.”

Draft data: Major League Baseball’s first-year player draft concluded Saturday with rounds 11 through 40.

The Reds used three of their final five picks on left-handed pitchers, including Logan Browning, the son of Reds Hall of Fame member Tom Browning. The Reds drafted 18-year-old Logan in the 36th round.

Two other former Reds saw their sons get drafted. Benito Santiago Jr., who is following in his father’s footsteps as a catcher, went in the 38th round to San Francisco. And second baseman J.J. Franco, the son of John Franco, got picked by Atlanta in the 38th round.

For the Reds, 23 of their 40 selections were pitchers (15 right-handed, eight left-handed). They drafted four catchers, nine infielders and four outfielders.

Three of the players the team drafted Saturday played for the same San Jacinto College North squad.

Today’s game: Cincinnati opens a four-game series against the Los Angeles, with Reds left-hander Tony Cingrani (2-6, 4.09 ERA) opposing Dodgers righty Dan Haren (5-4, 3.50).

The Dodgers’ .579 winning percentage (22-16) at Great American Ball Park is the second best of any National League team. The New York Mets own an NL-best .600 winning percentage (21-14) at GABP.

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