Latos feeling comfortable in second spring camp

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The getting acquainted portion of his time with the Reds has long since passed for starting pitcher Mat Latos. Last spring, he arrived in the major off-season trade to help the club, making him the new kid on the block.

Latos, who made his spring debut with two scoreless innings against the Royals on Friday, is more comfortable with a year on the club behind him.

"It's comforting to know what to expect from the guys I am around," Latos said.

Latos began his start with back-to-back walks before he got a fly out to left field and an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play on the ground. With one exception, he threw all strikes in the second inning and allowed only a two-out double by Xavier Nady before escaping. Latos felt like he made the right adjustment in the second.

"I stayed on a straight line," said Latos, who threw 24 pitches overall, including 17 strikes. "Throwing in the first inning with a little adrenaline, I kind of opened up the front shoulder a little bit."

During his first season with Cincinnati, Latos was 14-4 with a 3.48 ERA, and his 33 starts and 209 1/3 innings pitched were both career highs.

The first month was rocky as Latos had a 5.97 ERA in five April starts before straightening out and finishing strong the rest of the way.

"A struggle early is better than a struggle late," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "You're going to struggle. If you don't struggle, you don't win 20 games. You're going to struggle some if you win 20 games. I will just take more of the same. That's pretty good for a kid, to be 14-4 and struggle."