Mat Latos has a lot of new scars. They match his tattoos in ways, but they're hardly fashionable. He has a couple small ones on his elbow from having bone chips removed, then another couple on his knee where his meniscus was removed.
With another arm issue, there were worries that he was headed for another new set, but the tests came back relatively positive. An MRI showed a flexor mass strain in his forearm but also showed that the UCL was strong, per Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Even with that, the naysayers point out that flexor strains are often precursors to other elbow injuries, pointing to cases like Dylan Bundy and A.J. Burnett. I hesitate to do more than mention these. Each case is different, and knowing that, Dr. Tim Kremchek would have not only seen the UCL on MRI but also visually during the chip removal: I have to think that a cascade to the UCL is unlikely. Not impossible, but unlikely.
Latos' strain is going to be a significant setback. He'll have to take some time off to let it heal, then start building up his stamina again. This would be a great time to get a look at his biomechanics and make some slight adjustments, if necessary.
Look for Latos' new target return date to shift toward June 1. That's just a best guess at this stage and will depend on a lot of factors, but it won't be much before that. Watch to see when he starts his throwing program back up for more of an indication.
Until then, the Reds will rely on Alfredo Simon in the five slot, though several scouts have told me Robert Stephenson is going to be ready sooner rather than later, despite starting this season in Pensacola. Stephenson is a top-rated prospect, though if you show that picture above to some pitching gurus, their head might explode from the drastic "inverted W."
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