Miami Marlins

Miami Marlins’ Mat Latos to continue pitching through pain

Marlins starter Mat Latos pitches in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Marlins Park on Friday, April 24, 2015.
Marlins starter Mat Latos pitches in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Marlins Park on Friday, April 24, 2015. EL Nuevo Herald

He is walking around with a left shin that’s heavily taped, and wears a brace on his surgically repaired left knee after having 90 cc’s of fluid drained from that knee in spring training.

Pitcher Mat Latos hasn’t had an easy time getting healthy but still intends to take the mound Thursday for the first time since being struck on his shin by a batted ball in his previous start.

“I’m trying to do this job at 60, 70, 80 percent,” Latos said. “[I’ve] pitched [poorly]. I’m tired of it, to be honest with you. It’s something I’ve got to go through. I’m out there trying to compete, and not being 100 percent — or 90 percent — is not the greatest thing. Once I started to get right, I took a line drive off the leg, and now I’ve got to deal with that. It affects me more than what people would really know. I have to deal with putting all my weight on that leg when I go to throw.”

But Latos said he is “good enough to go” even though there is “tightness in there, there’s bruising.”

“Like I’ve said before, it’s going to take me missing a limb for me not to be able to make a start,” Latos said. “I’ll be out there every fifth day, giving it 110 percent for as long as I can.”

A LINEUP SHAKEUP

On his third day on the job, manager Dan Jennings shook up the lineup by elevating Marcell Ozuna into the No. 2 hole and dropping Martin Prado to the cleanup spot. The quest, obviously, is to find a combination that can put runs on the board.

“We’re looking for a spark, and sometimes you’ve got to move pieces here or there until you get the right formula,” Jennings said. “I’m sure the Colonel tried a lot of recipes before he came up with the secret one for the chicken. So we’re going to hopefully keep working it until we find ours.”

The Marlins scored just 10 runs in the first five games of the homestand, going 0-5.

“It was a late night here last night, and we went through a lot of different scenarios,” Jennings said of a post-mortem coaching pow-wow following Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to the Diamondbacks. “So this is what we feel like is the best lineup for us today.”

Ozuna is no stranger to the No. 2 spot, where he has hit better than .300. Prado also has previous experience in the cleanup position.

▪ Carter Capps believes he has toned down his odd delivery, though it remains a work in progress. The hard-throwing, right-handed reliever was called for throwing illegal pitches while with Triple A New Orleans because of a delivery in which he kicks off the rubber with his hind foot well before he releases the ball.

“I tried to make everything simpler and be more relaxed, and make it a little more fluid, minimize the jumping aspect of it,” Capps said. “Other than that, it feels pretty comfortable right now. I’m still working on it. It’s a daily thing, and I’m sure it will be a daily thing for a while. As far as I’m concerned, it shouldn’t be an issue anymore.”

▪ Dee Gordon tried unsuccessfully to drop down a two-strike bunt in his first at-bat on Tuesday, fouling off the attempt and striking out. Though it’s an unconventional approach, Gordon said he has “done it plenty of times before,” just not with the Marlins this season. “I think I’ve gone like 5 for 10 doing it,” he said.

COMING UP

▪ Thursday: Marlins RHP Latos (1-4, 5.54 ERA) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Archie Bradley (2-1, 3.27), 12:10 p.m., Marlins Park.

▪ Friday: Marlins RHP Henderson Alvarez (0-3, 6.23) vs. Baltimore Orioles RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (3-3, 2.43), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.

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