CINCINNATI -- Reds starting pitcher Mat Latos has been besieged by setbacks since he had arthroscopic elbow surgery in October to remove bone chips. But Latos appears to have finally cleared all the hurdles.
Barring another unforeseen issue, Latos should be ready to make his 2014 season debut for the Reds on Saturday vs. the Brewers at Miller Park.
"I anticipate him being fully healthy and ready to make his next start for us, but we'll see how the bullpen goes and all that before we activate him," Reds manager Bryan Price said on Tuesday.
"I was ready five, six days ago. But that's life," Latos said. "I'm just ready to get in line to be able to pitch whenever it is they say I can pitch."
Latos made his fourth rehab assignment start for Triple-A Louisville on Monday at Pawtucket. He pitched 5 2/3 innings with 82 pitches and allowed one run and four hits with three walks and four strikeouts before the game was called by rain.
To reach his pitch count of 100, Latos threw an additional 19 pitches in a covered batting cage.
"Everything was fine," Latos said. "My velocity was there -- 90-94, 95. I was throwing 90-mph sliders. I threw a couple of pitches I normally wouldn't in a big league game that led to a few walks, but in the end I think it helped me out to get the pitch count up."
Since October, Latos had dealt with a myriad of issues. He needed left knee surgery in February to repair torn meniscus cartilage. During a rehab assignment in April, he strained the flexor mass tendon in his right forearm. And during his third rehab outing for Louisville last week, he was stopped after 67 pitches because of a calf cramp. It prompted the club to have Latos make one more start in the Minors, which still had him irritated.
"I had really good stuff [Monday]. It [stinks] that I had to waste it in a Minor League game," Latos said. "But I'm supposedly back now. I'll just worry about helping the ball club from here on out as much as I can."
Latos felt he gave his arm a good final test on Monday. He has a side bullpen session set for Thursday.
"Being able to throw an 87-90 mph slider puts a lot of stress on your arm," he said. "That kind of tells you where I'm at. That stuff is there. Everything is there. It's just a matter of getting the innings under my belt."
The Reds have not announced who will come out of the rotation when Latos is activated. The Saturday spot belongs to Tony Cingrani, who has struggled much of this season.
"There are some options that are pending at this point in time," Price said of Cingrani. "It's likely he'll be affected by the activation of Mat."