Bill Ladson

Latos helps with arm, bat before hamstring tightness

Injury not considered serious; righty listed as day to day

Latos helps with arm, bat before hamstring tightness

WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander Mat Latos left Monday's 8-1 victory over the Mets in the fifth inning because of right hamstring tightness. The injury is not considered serious, according to manager Dusty Baker, and Latos is listed as day to day.

"He'll be all right," Baker said. "We got him out of there before something [seriously] happened."

Latos was going strong on the mound until the fifth inning. After Alejandro De Aza walked and Jose Reyes singled to right field with one out, Latos summoned Baker and pitching coach Mike Maddux to the mound and said that he felt a cramp in his hamstring. A few minutes later, Latos left the game in favor of Trevor Gott.

"I tried to work my way through it, but [the hamstring] kept grabbing at me," Latos said. "There was no way I was going to risk it further. I would have liked to go a couple of more innings for the bullpen. It's unfortunate that it happened."

Latos was making his first start as a member of the Nats and was pitching well, allowing a run in 4 1/3 innings. He had good command of the fastball and his offspeed pitches. Latos even helped himself with the bat by hitting his fourth career home run in the second inning off right-hander Rafael Montero. The exit velocity on the home run was 100 mph, according to Statcast™, and the ball traveled 392 feet into the Mets' bullpen in left-center field.

Latos mashes 392-foot dinger

The home run was special for Latos because he was born in the DC area.

"Oh, man, it was awesome," he said. "It was real nice to go around the bases today. Maybe the hamstring will hold up next time."

It was Latos' second home run at Nationals Park. The first came when Latos was a member of the Padres on July 8, 2010, against Nationals right-hander Luis Atilano.

Latos, who signed as a free agent after he was released by the White Sox in June, said he would do anything to stay on the roster. He is willing to start or work out of the bullpen.

"That's the one thing," he said. "I'm prepared to do whatever I need to do -- whether its multiple innings, start, [be] a specialist, whatever it is, I'll do whatever I have to do."

Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.