Latos on track for next start after X-ray negative

Latos on track for next start after X-ray negative

MIAMI -- The Marlins remain optimistic that Mat Latos will be ready for his next scheduled start, even though he is walking with a limp.

Latos was struck on the left shin by a comeback line drive in the fourth inning of Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Braves at Marlins Park. An X-ray came back negative, and the feeling is the 27-year-old will start on Thursday against the D-backs.

"It's just a sore left ankle, shin area, but it looks like he's going to be fine," manager Mike Redmond said Sunday. "Like I said yesterday, X-rays were negative and it's just stiff and sore. But he should be fine."

After Saturday's game, Latos exited the clubhouse while being assisted by one crutch. On Sunday morning, he returned walking gingerly. If he looks like he needs some extra recovery time, the Marlins could push his start back a few days. But Redmond says the team is hopeful it won't come to that.

"I guess in the next couple of days we'll be able to tell more if that would become an option, but I'm anticipating him being fine," the manager said.

Latos is 1-4 with a 5.54 ERA, but he's basically had two seasons. Against the Braves, he is 0-3 with a 16.43 ERA. In his five other starts, he is 1-1 with a 2.73 ERA.

If Latos isn't ready to go, the team will have to make some decisions. Tom Koehler was just moved out of the rotation to help solidify the bullpen. The Marlins don't want to move the right-hander back and forth.

At Triple-A New Orleans, lefty Justin Nicolino is getting close to being big league ready, and he could be an option.

The good news is the club appears to have avoided a much more serious situation with Latos.

"It's good that everything checked out fine," Redmond said. "We can't afford to lose any guys."

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