Latos stays on schedule, starts Minor League contest

Sharp veteran to pitch next in Marlins' second regular-season game

Latos stays on schedule, starts Minor League contest

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Grapefruit League campaign may have wrapped up for the Marlins on Wednesday afternoon, but on Thursday, the club's No. 2 starter stayed behind to pitch in a Minor League game.

Mat Latos closed out his exhibition season by throwing 86 pitches against the Cardinals' Double-A squad on a back field at the Roger Dean Stadium complex.

"I feel good," Latos said. "I'm healthy."

Latos was sharp, and he was pleased with his mechanics, which were off against the Mets on March 23. Latos will next take the mound Tuesday against the Braves at Marlins Park.

Miami opens the regular season on Monday against Atlanta, with Henderson Alvarez getting the start. Following Alvarez, the rotation will be Latos, Tom Koehler, Dan Haren and Jarred Cosart.

Latos threw 15 1/3 innings and had a 7.04 ERA four Grapefruit League games. Because he was lined up to pitch on Thursday, he stayed on course in the Minor League game.

The Marlins broke camp on Wednesday, and they have two exhibition games set this weekend before Opening Day. The club will face Class A Greensboro in North Carolina on Friday, and then it will take on Double-A Jacksonville on Saturday. Koehler will pitch Friday, and Haren will follow on Saturday.

Latos was eased into Spring Training action because he had an elbow scope in mid-October. His roughest spring performance was on March 23, when the Mets tagged him for nine runs in three innings. But Latos rebounded on Saturday against the Astros, giving up one run in 5 1/3 innings.

Redmond on Latos' start

Minor League updates

• Triple-A New Orleans reliever Preston Claiborne will be sidelined at least a month due to a right labrum injury. It's another blow to Miami's pitching depth. Claiborne is on a no-throw program for about two weeks, and he will be re-evaluated. At this point, surgery doesn't appear to be necessary.

• Infielder Reid Brignac has an opt-out clause which he could exercise on Friday. The Marlins are hopeful Brignac will accept his assignment and head to New Orleans, but he may have a big league opportunity elsewhere.

• Outfielder Cole Gillespie also has an opt-out clause he can exercise on Friday. Gillespie, however, was playing in a Triple-A game with New Orleans on Thursday, and Miami is hopeful he will stay in the organization.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.