Mat Latos cleared to begin rehab assignment

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Mat Latos, who hasn’t thrown a pitch for the Reds this season because of a spring training knee injury followed by a flexor mass strain, is scheduled to begin a minor-league rehab assignment Sunday at Triple-A.

Mark Sheldon of reports that Latos will throw 50-60 pitches for Louisville, which suggests he’ll likely make at least 2-3 total rehab starts before potentially coming off the disabled list.

Latos initially hoped to return in mid-May, but now early June looks like the best-case scenario. He injured his arm on April 11 while doing a throwing program as part of the rehab for his knee injury, but was previously one of the most durable pitchers in baseball with 31 or more starts in each of the past four seasons (and a 3.27 ERA over that span).

Mike Fiers may not be ready for start of regular season due to back issue

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Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that Tigers starter Mike Fiers is dealing with a back issue and may not be ready for the start of the season. Manager Ron Gardenhire characterized the injury as a “stiff back” and added, “Maybe a little bit of a bulging disk or something like that.”

Fiers, 32, signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Tigers in December. He has had a forgettable spring, yielding 12 runs on 10 hits and eight walks with seven strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings.

Fiers had a rotation spot locked up along with Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, and Francisco Liriano. Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris were battling it out for the No. 5 spot. If Fiers opens the regular season on the 10-day disabled list, both could have spots in the rotation.