Mat Latos says mid-May return “would be fantastic”

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Mat Latos has yet to pitch this season because of spring training knee surgery followed by a flexor mass strain, but the Reds right-hander is hoping to resume throwing off a mound by the end of this week.

John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that there’s still no official timetable for Latos’ return to the Reds’ rotation and he’ll no doubt need a minor-league rehab assignment before getting back to the majors. He suffered the arm injury on April 11 while doing a throwing program on the road back from knee surgery and has already advanced to playing catch off flat ground. Latos tossed 211 innings last season for his fourth straight year with 30-plus starts and 185-plus innings, posting a combined 3.27 ERA during that span.

According to Latos a mid-to-late-May return “would be fantastic” so for now that’s the best-case scenario.

Yankees to hire Josh Bard as their new bench coach

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Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.

Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.

Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.

Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:

“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”