Posted March 27, 2012 on
AP on Fox
Right-hander Mat Latos threw a pitch and pulled up awkwardly. Just like that, the Cincinnati Reds had another pitching concern.
Latos strained his left calf while throwing a pitch during the fifth inning of a 7-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, forcing him from the game. He was listed as day to day.
The Reds' No. 2 starter got hurt three days after they learned that closer Ryan Madson needs reconstructive elbow surgery, ending his season.
''It's better than (hurting) his knee,'' manager Dusty Baker said. ''The ground is hard. He kept hitting a hole out there. You could tell when he walked the pitcher that something's not right. He wanted to finish, but we said now's not the time. We have too many guys going down. We thought caution was the best.''
Latos walked opposing pitcher Matt Garza, who was trying to bunt a runner to second. Latos then left in the middle of an at-bat by Alfonso Soriano.
''I'm alive and fine,'' Latos said. ''I just put a little ice on it. I'm fine. It was just a precaution.''
Garza was scheduled to pitch six innings for the Cubs, but was taken out after the first two batters in the fifth reached. Garza gave up two runs and fanned six.
He also gave the Cubs a scare, diving on the gravel in front of the Reds' dugout to save a wild throw from going out of play.
''That was awesome,'' Garza said. ''I didn't know where I was. I wanted to keep the ball from rolling into the dugout. I should have let it roll into the fence. The dirt was hard. I got a little cut up but I'd rather do that than risk the ball going into the dugout and giving up an extra run.''
A meaningless spring training game made no difference to him.
''It's a game. It's like saying don't compete, don't go out there and even try,'' he said. ''You have to work on stuff at the same time you want to win. I have one more game then it's time to fly home. I'm looking forward to that one.''
Garza reached his 80-pitch limit and was relieved by Shawn Camp, who let in the two baserunners charged to the starter.
Former Red Dave Sappelt hit a three-run home run off Clayton Tanner in the ninth inning. Wellington Castillo also had a solo shot off Tanner in the ninth.
Brandon Phillips had four hits, including two doubles, for the Reds, who plan to use him as their leadoff hitter. Joey Votto and Drew Stubbs had two hits each. Stubbs will be dropped from the leadoff spot to start the season.
NOTES: Darwin Barney had three hits, including two doubles, for the Cubs, raising his average to .389. ... Bryan LaHair had two doubles among his three hits. He leads the Cubs with seven doubles. ... Sean Marshall, who could replace Madson as the Reds' closer, pitched a scoreless inning. It was his sixth straight scoreless appearance. ... OF Ryan Ludwick was sent home with nausea which caused him to be scratched on Monday night. ''He's sicker today,'' Baker said. ''He wanted to play but we sent him home. We want to quarantine him so no one else gets sick.''
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