Based on his performance Monday in a simulation game, Mat Latos likely will make his first Grapefruit League start the next time he pitches.
“He looked good,” said manager Mike Redmond, who remained behind in Jupiter to watch Latos throw in the morning before heading up to Port St. Lucie to oversee the Marlins’ 13-2 win over the New York Mets. “I thought overall he looked outstanding.”
Latos was scheduled originally to make his spring debut against the Mets.
But the Marlins decided at the last minute to first have Latos throw a sim game to make sure he was sharp and allowed David Phelps to start in his place in Port St. Lucie.
“It was better for me,” Latos said. “I would have loved to have pitched today against the Mets. This is a lot better because it’s a controlled environment.”
Latos missed time last season with Cincinnati due to a knee injury. In October, he underwent a stem-cell procedure that threw off his offseason workout regimen.
As a result, the Marlins are playing it safe with their projected No. 2 starter.
Latos threw 31 pitches in Monday’s simulation game, 22 for strikes.
“It was great,” Latos said. “That was more game than I’ve been in for a while. Everything feels good — body feels good, knee feels good, arm. Just a little rust, but nothing that can’t be tweaked out and ready for next outing.”
HECHAVARRIA MAY RETURN TUESDAY
Redmond said that shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, who has missed four straight spring training games due to a “tired shoulder,” is 50-50 to return to the lineup on Tuesday.
“He may or may not play,” Redmond said. “He played catch [on Monday] and said everything felt great. So I’ll talk to him in the morning and see where he’s at.”
Hechavarria batted against Latos in the simulation game and doubled in his only at plate appearance.
BRIGNAC, VALDESPIN IMPRESS VS. METS
Reid Brignac and Jordany Valdespin ‒ two players vying for bench spots ‒ each drove in three runs as the Marlins routed the Mets 13-2. Avery Romero also hit a three-run homer.
Brignac went 3 for 4, and Valdespin and Derek Dietrich each had two hits in the blowout.
Phelps turned in three strong innings in the start.