SURPRISE, Ariz. — Matt Latos pitched four innings in a B game Saturday morning, and while the results — three runs over four innings against mostly Texas Rangers prospects — didn’t look great, the right-hander who is being counted on to hold down a spot in the White Sox’ starting rotation came away pleased with his work.
“Most importantly I was worried about hitting my spots and hitting each side of the plate with my fastball,” said Latos, who also snapped off some good curve balls. “The one big thing we had been working on in my side sessions was big — able to keep the fastball to the side of the plate I wanted it to.”
One fastball to Ryan Cordell was supposed to be in but got too much of the plate and Cordell connected for a two-run home run to left.
“But I settled in after that, everything came out of my arm, easy flow, go through the motions and making my pitches,” Latos said.
“I could care less about the results. Come April, I’ll care about the results. From the way it looked, the first inning cost me but the last three were really good.”
Latos, who is coming off of left knee and right elbow problems over the last two seasons, continues to say he feels healthy.
“Fantastic,” he said. “Everyone says I look good so I won’t complain. I’ll take it in stride, get back to work and get ready for the next outing.”
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn, assistant GM Buddy Bell and manager Robin Ventura watched Latos and outfielder Austin Jackson, who got three at-bats against Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis. Bell said he was pleasantly surprised by the quality of Latos’ stuff this early.
Action for Jackson
Jackson, signed last Sunday to a one-year, $5 million contract as a free agent, might play in his first Cactus League game Sunday. He grounded out to third, fouled out to first and singled to left. Jackson, whose priority was to get his timing down at the plate, did not play in the field.
“Aw man, it felt good just to see some live action,” said Jackson, who missed the first part of camp waiting to sign a deal. “Just good to get out there, get the legs moving and get some blood in them.”
Jackson is eager to play in a game.
“Absolutely. That’s where you kind of build up to at this point, getting in there and to take the field with guys you’re playing with, to get into game speed and get those little kinks out,” he said.
NOTES: Catcher Rob Brantly was claimed on waivers by the Seattle Mariners. The Sox 40-man roster is at 39.
*Erik Johnson got roughed up for three runs in the first inning, a home run by Dexter Fowler in the second inning and balked in a run in the third in Mesa, where the Sox met the Cubs on Saturday afternoon. The Cubs had seven hits in the first three innings against Johnson and led the Sox 5-0.