Even though right-hander Mat Latos knows most of the Reds as opponents, he practically leaped at the chance to fly almost all way across the country and meet them for the first time as teammates.
How important was it to him? He and his wife, Dallas, spent fewer than 24 hours in Cincinnati before climbing back onto a plane and heading back home to the West Coast.
Lato was invited by Reds general manager Walt Jocketty to participate in the Jan. 23 kickoff of the team's annual winter caravan tour of the Midwest. Latos shook hands with most of the members of the traveling party, including second baseman Brandon Phillips.
"I don't want to walk into spring training and feel like the odd man out, with weird looks when everybody first gets there," the 24-year-old Latos said. "I just wanted to get in and know what to expect."
Latos is somewhat familiar with Cincinnati's spring training camp in Goodyear, Ariz., since his former team trains in Peoria, Ariz.
He also will find some familiar...