Mat Latos has a 9.00 ERA in four spring training starts and also got knocked around in a minor-league game that doesn’t officially count in those totals, and now he’s been scratched from tomorrow’s scheduled outing because of shoulder soreness.
Latos started Monday, allowing three runs in four innings, but according to manager Bud Black the soreness “just sort of popped up” Wednesday and kept him from the usual between-starts throwing session.
Shoulder problems would explain Latos’ struggles all spring, although certainly having a handful of bad outings in exhibition games doesn’t necessarily require an explanation. Still, prior to news of the arm problems Black and Latos both blamed his poor results on a lack of composure and similar, non-physical factors.
Latos was excellent overall in 2010, throwing 185 innings with a 2.92 ERA and 189/50 K/BB ratio as a 22-year-old, but he did tire down the stretch while going 0-5 with an 8.18 ERA. Combine that September fade with spring struggles and perhaps the shoulder problems date back further than Wednesday.
Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo underwent an MRI on Tuesday that revealed rib inflammation on his left side, Maddie Lee of NBC Sports Chicago reports. Rizzo has been dealing with back soreness for the last week and has missed several intrasquad games as a result.
Rizzo is unsure if he can avoid opening the regular season on the injured list. He said, “I’ll do everything I can to stay off of it, obviously. … Every game’s important. So, we’ve got to get off to a good start and hopefully I’m out there with the guys. I plan on it, but you can’t control it and you’ve got to be smart.”
Rizzo, who turns 31 years old next month, is coming off of another highly productive season in which he hit .293/.405/.520 with 27 home runs, 94 RBI, and 89 runs scored over 613 plate appearances. In the event he needs to open the season on the IL, Victor Caratini figures to get the first crack at handling first base.
The Cubs missed the playoffs last year for the first time since 2014, finishing in third place with a 84-78 record. Rizzo, no doubt, will play a big role if the Cubs are to find themselves back in the postseason.