GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds starting pitcher Mat Latos took a big step forward on Wednesday in his efforts to return from left knee surgery.
For the first time since a Feb. 14 operation to repair a meniscus tear, Latos threw from a mound in the bullpen. He made 20 pitches, including five changeups. The rest, he said, were two-seam and four-seam fastballs.
"Everything feels fantastic," Latos said. "I expected a little bit of soreness while I was throwing, or to feel it once or twice. I didn't feel anything while I was throwing. My mechanics were a little off. The ball was up, but that's to be expected. I'm almost three weeks late."
Not to be forgotten is that Latos also had arthroscopic surgery in October to remove bone chips from his right elbow.
"I let go for the last one and cut it loose and didn't feel anything in the knee or the elbow. That's a plus," Latos said.
Latos is scheduled to have another bullpen session on Saturday. As for his readiness for the start of the regular season, he did not know.
"I'd love to be there against St. Louis for Opening Day and the next away series [at New York]," Latos said. "Am I pushing for it? Yes. But there's nothing I can do. It's out of my hands."
Another Reds starter, Mike Leake, also returned to a bullpen mound after he missed his first start on Sunday because of a minor abdominal strain. There were no issues for Leake, who is now scheduled to start on Friday.
Reliever Jonathan Broxton, who is trying to return from August surgery on his right forearm, had his fourth bullpen session of camp. Broxton threw almost 40 pitches and mixed in breaking balls for the first time.
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.