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Latos hit hard in rehab start

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NEW YORK -- Following three outings in the Reds' Minor League camp in Arizona, Reds pitcher Mat Latos began his rehab assignment on Thursday for Double-A Pensacola. Latos' pitching line was not very robust.

Over four innings and 75 pitches, Latos allowed five runs (three earned) on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts. There was a two-run home run surrendered in the first inning.

"My ego is a little bruised, but it is what it is. I feel great," Latos told reporters in Pensacola. "I was throwing strikes. I got hit around and hit around hard, but regardless, the control was there. It's just a matter of finishing the hitters, making that pitch when I needed to."

Most importantly, it didn't sound like Latos had any issues with his surgically repaired left knee and right elbow. He tore the meniscus in his knee, which required a Feb. 14 procedure. Bone chips were removed from the elbow in October.

"The body of the knee feels good, the elbow feels good," Latos said.

The plan is to have Latos make his next start on Tuesday for Triple-A Louisville at Columbus. It should be his final tuneup before being activated from the disabled list around mid-April.

"He'll have to pitch fairly efficiently to get that six innings or 90 pitches, which would both be target goals," Reds manager Bryan Price said on Friday. "And he has to come out of it feeling good. If he is, I think we're pretty optimistic he'll be able to start the tail end of the Tampa Bay series or the early part of the Pittsburgh series."

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.

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