Pitcher Mat Latos can’t return from the DL soon enough for the Cincinnati Reds. That’s not because the Reds’ rotation has been struggling without the injured Latos since the beginning of the year; actually, quite the opposite is true of the Reds’ starters with the exception of Homer Bailey.
Mat Latos can’t return soon enough because he is one of the best starting pitchers in baseball and his presence gives the Reds a boost, unlike the rest of their starters.
Plus, Latos’ eventual return from a strained flexor mass in his forearm will be a needed reprieve from the sideshow that will likely follow his replacement Alfredo Simon for every start that Simon makes, if he is not given a personal leave of absence to handle the allegation of sexual assault that has been levied against him.
Simon faces a $15 million civil lawsuit for an alleged assault that reportedly happened last year when the Reds were in Washington, D.C. to play. Simon was never criminally charged in the incident, but how this pending civil suit affects him on the mound remains to be seen.
Despite the excellent start Simon has had (3-1 with a 1.30 ERA in four starts) as the rotation replacement for Latos, the Reds might be better served if he skipped a couple of turns and a minor league replacement were brought up until Latos is ready to start again for the Reds.
Latos is coming off elbow surgery in October to remove bone chips. He had a knee procedure at the outset of Spring Training to repair a meniscus tear before the flexor mass strain in his forearm shut him down toward the end of Spring Training. Latos has resumed throwing, but still has a rehab assignment ahead of him before he can return to the Reds.
Latos may not be able to return for another two or three weeks, but now that Simon is under serious scrutiny for his off-field issue, the return of Latos can’t come soon enough.