latos getty

Mat Latos undergoes MRI on forearm


UPDATE: Latos told C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer that it’s actually his forearm that’s bothering him and that he went for an MRI today. He’s still awaiting the results.

10:58 a.m. ET: Reds right-hander Mat Latos was scratched from his second minor league rehab start on Tuesday due to right elbow inflammation and John Fay and C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer report that he felt continued discomfort during a bullpen session yesterday.

Latos declined to speak to reporters after throwing, but Reds trainer Paul Lessard said that he will be shut down for a few days.

“There was still a little tenderness in the flexor mass,” Lessard said. “It’s back to more treatment, instead of pitching. We were hoping if the bullpen went well today that maybe he could pitch on Sunday or Monday. That doesn’t look reasonable right now.

“We’ve got to take some time and get him stronger and less painful, hopefully pain-free.”

Latos was forced to begin the year on the disabled list following left knee surgery in February, but he also had an elbow cleanup procedure in October. His absence appears likely to stretch into May at this point. Alfredo Simon will continue to fill his spot in the starting rotation for now.

Wild Card, Division series umpires announced

Angel Hernandez
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Major League Baseball just released the umpire assignments for the Wild Card Game and the Division Series. As always, the basis for these assignments is a proprietary, scientific calculation undertaken by Major League Baseball, mixing in (a) skill; (b) seniority; and (c) trolling of baseball bloggers who, unlike 99% of the rest of the world actually know the names and track records of various umpires and who are easily riled.

Which is to say that, while we have no Joe West in the early playoff rounds this year — too obvious, perhaps? — we do get an Angel Hernandez.

Here are the assignments. The asterisks represent the crew chief of each unit. Guys with little up arrows next to their names are regular season crew chiefs in their own right. Print this out and keep it near your television so you know who to yell about before the broadcasters tell you who to yell at:

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Which teams improved and declined the most in 2015?

Joe Maddon

I was curious about which MLB teams changed their fortunes the most this season compared to last year, so I crunched the numbers.

First, here are the biggest win total improvements from 2014 to 2015:

+24 Cubs
+21 Rangers
+16 Astros
+15 Diamondbacks
+13 Twins
+11 Mets
+10 Blue Jays
+10 Cardinals
+10 Pirates

The top five teams on the biggest-improvement list all had managers in their first season on the job, led by Joe Maddon joining the Cubs after tons of success with the Rays. Also worth noting: Of the nine teams with the biggest win total improvement, eight made the playoffs. Only the Twins improved to double-digit games and still failed to make the playoffs.

Now, here are the biggest win total declines from 2014 to 2015:

-20 Athletics
-16 Tigers
-15 Orioles
-14 Brewers
-13 Nationals
-13 Angels
-12 Braves
-12 Reds
-11 Mariners

Not surprisingly, a whole lot of those teams have changed managers, general managers, or both. And a couple more may still do so before the offseason gets underway. Oakland retained manager Bob Melvin despite an MLB-high 20-win dropoff and just promoted Billy Beane from general manager to vice president of baseball operations.