CINCINNATI - Starter Mat Latos could make one more start in the minors before the Reds will consider activating him and bringing their rotation back to full strength.
Latos had to leave a minor league rehab start after only 67 pitches on Wednesday night at Triple-A Louisville because he developed a cramp in a calf. The Reds were planning to have him throw approximately 100 pitches and then activate him if there was no problem.
The club still hadn't talked to Latos on Thursday morning. Manager Bryan Price said no decision had been made on whether another rehab start is needed to get Latos ready to throw 100 pitches in the majors.
"It's under consideration what we want to do, whether we want to activate him or give him one more start to get stretched out," Price said.
Latos went 14-7 last season with a 3.16 ERA in 32 starts. He had surgery after the season to have a bone chip removed from his elbow. He tore cartilage in his left knee while working out and had surgery the day that spring training opened.
He was beyond the knee problems when he developed soreness in his pitching forearm and had to rest again. Price said the latest setback doesn't seem to be serious.
"He may have wanted to stay in (the game), but it was apparent that it's something he shouldn't be pitching with," Price said. "He's getting closer and closer to rejoining the club. It was disappointing that he didn't get up to the innings and the pitch limit that we'd set.
"So he'll be in later today and we'll reassess the severity of it. It doesn't sound like it's really an issue."
Right-hander Alfredo Simon has gone 7-3 in Latos' spot. Simon could move back into the bullpen when Latos returns, or the Reds could decide to move left-hander Tony Cingrani into a relief role.
First baseman Joey Votto took ground balls and batting practice again before the final game of a series against San Francisco on Thursday. Votto has been on the disabled list since May 21 with a strained muscle above his left knee. When Votto has full strength back in the muscle, he'll begin a rehab assignment in the minors.
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