SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Mat Latos has one more start to get it right.
Thus far, most everything has gone wrong for the right-hander being counted on to anchor a spot in the back of the White Sox’ starting rotation.
“I’m not concerned about being ready,” Latos said after needing 96 pitches to get through four innings in which he gave up six runs (five earned) to the San Francisco Giants in his final Cactus League game. “All it’s going to take is one day in the pen. It will take one game to get everything that we’ve gone through to click.”
That’s the positive take from a right-hander who was a front of the rotation starter in his career before knee and arm injuries.
The realistic take from Latos, who gave up seven hits, walked three, unwillingly hit but angered Hunter Pence and committed a balk because of a miscommunication with shortstop Jimmy Rollins?
“The results are horrible, if we’re being honest,” he said. “I’ve got to start stringing together pitches, there’s no doubt about it. I have to.”
This follows a start against the Giants in which Latos cruised before all fell apart in the fifth inning.
“The first game I might have gotten a little tired,” he said. “Everything else feels good. The knee feels good. The arm feels good. I guess not bad for my second outing against big-league guys and this big-league ballclub. Those guys over there are world champions, and to be throwing to into them, is a good thing, it’s a good challenge. But if you don’t have your A game, you’re going to get smacked around a little bit.”
Latos will have one more start, in an exhibition game in San Diego on Friday, to get things right. He’s slated to start the fourth game of the season opening series against the Athletics in Oakland.
Latos said changes made during a bullpen session, including his position on the rubber, factored into his struggles. So did “a big hole” near his landing area on the Scottsdale Stadium mound, which Giants pitcher Jake Peavy also wanted fixed.
“You’ve just got to get into a rhythm, and that’s something I haven’t been able to find,” Latos said. “I’m still trying to find the slider, still trying to find some of my offspeed pitches. I found the slider today. I threw some really good sliders today, and a couple of really good changeups, some good cut fastballs, and the fastball command was pretty good today, so I just have to take it in stride and take positives from this and move on to the next one.”