New Marlins pitcher Mat Latos said upon arrival he considers himself a flat-out, no-nonsense, straight-shooter. But he might have been a little too honest for his own sake this time.
In a question-and-answer session with Fox Sports senior baseball writer Ken Rosenthal on Sunday, Latos made comments about his former team, the Cincinnati Reds, that didn’t go over well.
Latos told Rosenthal he rushed back from knee surgery last season in part because the Reds wanted him to.
“It’s kind of obvious when you’re looking at it and the [physical therapist] is looking at it, and this knee looks like a water balloon and this knee looks like a regular knee, don’t you think you would say, ‘Hey, let’s get some of that swelling down before we do anything?’ ’’ Latos told Rosenthal. “But there’s nothing I can do about it. I went along with it because I wanted to be out there. I figured they knew what they were talking about.”
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Latos also told Rosenthal the focus in the Cincinnati clubhouse “went to [expletive]” after Scott Rolen and Bronson Arroyo were no longer with the team.
Monday, the Reds fired back. Manager Bryan Price told Reds reporters the comments by Latos were “a bunch of tabloid [bull] that was unnecessary.”
Pitcher Homer Bailey said of Latos: “If this was a court of law, the cross examination would go after the credibility of the witness.”
Latos told a Marlins reporter Monday he was taking a break from speaking to the media.
The Ichiro effect is officially in effect for the Marlins.
Monday, the 41-year-old outfielder and 10-time All-Star arrived in Jupiter for duty and more than two dozen Japanese reporters were there to cover his every move. Suzuki stretched, ran, played catch with his interpreter on a backfield, and then took batting practice in the cages.
When he was done, he signed autographs for fans who lined up outside the facility and chanted his name. Suzuki, the first Japanese player in Marlins history, will address the media on Tuesday when position players officially report.
Team president David Samson said Saturday the Marlins will have at least 90 games broadcast in Japan this season, up from about the two they average. Signed to a one-year, $2 million deal, Suzuki is one of just three players with more than 4,000 professional hits. He had 1,278 hits in Japan and has 2,844 hits in the majors.
He’ll serve as the Marlins’ fourth outfielder this season. Asked if he has any special memories of Ichiro from when he played against him, Marlins manager Mike Redmond said Monday: “Well, he ran down a lot of my balls that would have been hits. We’re definitely going to have to talk about that.”
Redmond said he has never had a chance to speak to Ichiro face to face and is looking forward to it Tuesday. “This guy is a professional,” he said. “I know he’s a hard worker, and I think he’s going to really enjoy playing with our young players. I’m sure they’ll learn a lot from him as well.”
▪ Fox Sports Florida announced Monday it will televise six Marlins spring-training games: March 13 vs. St. Louis; March 19 and March 20 vs. Atlanta; March 25 vs. Detroit; and March 26 and March 31 vs. St. Louis.