CINCINNATI -- By his own admission, the process to get Reds starter Mat Latos back on a mound has been tedious, frustrating and difficult. That doesn't mean Latos is going to try to take the express route.
It's been slow because it needs to be.
"I definitely have to hit the ground running to help out the ballclub," Latos said Monday. "The pitching staff has been fantastic. But I definitely want to get back and be 100 percent. I don't want to be 90 or 95 percent. I don't think that's fair with the way [Alfredo] Simon has been pitching and the staff has been pitching to jump in at 90 percent take someone else [out] that's been doing a good job."
Latos had bone chips removed from his right elbow in an October surgery. He was almost fully recovered when he tore the meniscus cartilage in his left knee just before Spring Training opened and needed another surgery. Earlier this month in a rehab assignment game, he strained the flexor mass tendon near his right forearm and was shut down from throwing for 10 days.
On Wednesday, Latos began throwing again on flat ground from a distance of 75 feet. He increased that distance to 90 feet Monday.
"It's been a slow, steady, boring process of trying to make it back again," Latos said. "Everything feels fine, but we've had this before. We've had it where everything felt fine and then another hiccup. Hopefully we've got it right. I will say that everything feels better than it did the last time we tried to progress and get back on to the mound in a [Minor] League game. I've been on the shelf since Oct. 11 and haven't been able to do anything."
Latos hopes to be throwing from 120 feet by the middle of this week. If that goes well, he could advance to a bullpen session from a mound.
"We hope to get up on the mound within the next week," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Once he's been on the mound a couple of times, we can do a simulated game and then get him back into rehab games. He's not starting from square one."