Strained calf doesn't worry Latos

Strained calf doesn't worry Latos

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds starting pitcher Mat Latos left his game vs. the Cubs on Tuesday after he strained his left calf. Latos is expected to be day to day, but was not very concerned about the injury.

There were two outs in the fifth inning when Latos slipped on the mound landing as he made a first-pitch delivery for a ball to Alfonso Soriano. After the right-hander showed some discomfort, he was visited at the mound by manager Dusty Baker, pitching coach Bryan Price and head trainer Paul Lessard.

"It felt like I landed in mud and I slipped," Latos said. "The mound was a little loose on the landing spot a couple of times. I just got out a little too far and slipped."

Latos appeared disgusted with having to exit prematurely as he entered the dugout. Expected to work six innings, he finished with three runs (two earned) allowed on four hits over 4 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out two.

The medical staff examined Latos in the trainer's room after the pitcher departed the game.

"I don't know the layman's terms of what's going on, but I'm fine," Latos said. "They looked at it, they evaluated it. I put a little ice on it as a precaution."

One of the issues on the mound on Tuesday was that Latos and Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza dug different holes on the front of the mound.

"I think we were kicking dirt at each other back and forth," Latos said. "He'd get out there and kick his dirt over to my spot, and I'd get out there and kick my dirt over to his spot. He's a little to the right of me."

Over five spring starts, Latos has a 2.41 ERA, with three walks and 11 strikeouts over 18 2/3 innings.

In light of the season-ending injury to closer Ryan Madson over the weekend, the Reds could ill afford another loss to a major acquisition. Latos, expected to be Cincinnati's No. 2 starter in the rotation, was acquired in a blockbuster December trade from the Padres for Edinson Volquez and prospects Yonder Alonso, Brad Boxberger and Yasmani Grandal.

Designated the new Reds closer when signed as a free agent in January, Madson was diagnosed on Saturday with a torn ligament in his right elbow, which will require season-ending Tommy John surgery.

It did not appear that the Reds would need similar concern about Latos, however. The 24-year-old expected to make his next start, on a date that had yet to be determined.

"I'll be just fine," Latos said.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.