Well-Timed Sneeze Sends Mat Latos to the Disabled List
Latos, who had a breakout first half for the Padres, will go on the DL Friday with a strain on his left side. According to the pitcher, the injury occurred when he was trying to hold back a sneeze a week ago in Colorado.
"I held my sneeze walking down the [dugout] steps and felt a little pull," Latos said.
Latos is 10-4 with a 2.45 ERA. That makes this a big loss for the first-place Padres, right? Let's dig a little deeper.
The Padres would like to keep Latos under 180 innings for the season to cut down on the risk of an arm injury for a guy who only threw 122 innings in 2009. Thanks to the All-Star break, the team got a chance to shuffle their pitchers around to give Latos extra time before his first start of the second half. Injury or not, Latos wasn't likely to start before July 24 which is, incidentally, the same day he's eligible to come off the disabled list.
Better safe than sorry and all that, but it is hard to ignore the distinct smell of dead fish emanating from this story. We're not accusing the Padres of outright manipulating the disabled list to keep their pitching staff at full power, but the timing of this delayed sneeze is quite curious. So is the fact that Latos told reporters on Thursday that he's feeling "fine" and that "if it had to happen, it's a good time for it to happen."
It certainly is, although the rest of the NL West might not share such a sunny outlook about Latos' trip to the disabled list.