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Bailey and Chapman Should Both Be in Rotation While Latos Recovers: A Fan Perspective
The Reds' decision on the number five starter does not have to be decided by Opening Day, which is less than a week away. Both Homer Bailey and Aroldis Chapman, the two pitchers currently vying for that spot, could start the year in the rotation.
Mat Latos, who is considered as the number two starter behind ace Johnny Cueto, suffered a strained calf Tuesday. In the fifth inning of his March 27 start against the Cubs, Latos appeared to slip as he stepped from the mound after a pitch and was removed from the game.
Latos remains day to day, but Reds manager Dusty Baker was uncertain if Latos would make his last scheduled spring start on Sunday.
"He has to let us know how his health is," Baker told Cincinnati Enquirer reporter John Fay. "It makes it tough when you start the year with an injury."
The Reds cannot afford to allow Latos to make that decision. Too often the player falsely claims he is healthy, and it ends up hurting his team. Bronson Arroyo in 2011 is a perfect example.
Arroyo pitched terribly last year, ending with a career high E.R.A. and home runs allowed. He recently admitted that he was suffering from mono and other ailments that affected his pitching last year, a major reason the defending NL Central champs finished under .500.
Cincinnati has the luxury of a sixth starter, so Mat Latos can be thoroughly examined and given ample time to fully recuperate. By doing so, the Reds will avoid the mistake the Padres made with Latos the last two seasons.
In 2011, Latos missed his last spring start on March 23 because of an inflamed shoulder. Though he started the year on the D.L., San Diego obviously allowed him to return too soon.
Latos went 5-10 with a 4.04 E.R.A. in the months after his return. After he had finally and completely recovered after the All-Star break, Latos went 4-4 with a 2.87 E.R.A.
He had a similar experience just the year before with the Padres. Latos went on the D.L. on July 16, 2010, when he injured himself during a sneeze.
"The 22-year-old pitcher was walking down some steps at Coors Field in Denver last Friday when he stifled a sneeze, causing him to experience pain in his side," stated msn.foxsports.com.
Before that mid-season injury, Latos had gone 10-4 with a 2.45 E.R.A. The Padres obviously allowed him to return too soon, for after coming off the D.L. Latos went 4-6 with a 3.58 E.R.A..
The Reds can learn from San Diego's mistakes regarding Latos. In both cases he was allowed to return to the mound too soon, as his numbers reveal. With an extra starter already in place, Cincinnati should allow Latos plenty of time to fully recover.
Doug Poe once delivered newspapers to Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, and Joe Morgan, three customers who have made him a lifelong fan of the Reds.
Cincinnati Enquirer, 3/30/12
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