In a season that's been plagued by injuries, the Reds have gotten used to welcoming their stars back off the disabled list. Saturday's game against the Brewers will include another important return for Cincinnati -- right-hander Mat Latos.
Latos, one of the cornerstones of the Reds' rotation, has been sidelined all season after having surgery on his right elbow last October and an operation on his left knee in February.
"He brings a lot to the table," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He brings a lot of wins. He has a real high winning percentage as a young Major League starting pitcher and a lot of wins for us the last two years."
Price is right about that -- Latos has a 28-11 record over the past two seasons with the Reds, good for a .718 winning percentage. He had a 3.32 ERA and averaged eight strikeouts per nine innings over that span.
In four Triple-A rehab starts, Latos went 2-0 with a 2.33 ERA, allowing 17 hits and seven walks over 19 1/3 innings. He also struck out 13.
Four days after regaining Joey Votto, Price is excited to see another major player move off the DL, just in time for six straight games against divisional rivals.
"We're always looking for a boost. That's a boost," Price said. "Getting Joey back was a boost. I felt good about our starting rotation even without Mat in it to begin the season. Even better so now."
The Brewers are certainly familiar with Latos, who has a 2-4 record in eight career starts against them.
"We know, when he's on, what kind of pitcher he is," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "It really all depends on his command and where he's throwing the ball. When he's on, there's not many people that hit him well."
Milwaukee will be getting its own boost with the addition of reliever Tom Gorzelanny, who has also been sidelined after offseason surgery. The Brewers' bullpen has been somewhat depleted with the losses of Jim Henderson and Tyler Thornburg to injury, and Roenicke recognizes that bullpen stability will be essential as the team battles a divisional rival.
"With the pitching I see, especially in our division, these games aren't going to be lopsided, at least not very many of them," he said. "It's going to come down to the bullpen. When the bullpen's good, we're going to win games. When we can't get those late-inning zeros, we're going to scuffle. Hopefully, we'll take care of the bullpen to the point where we feel they can stay strong."
The Brewers have played 20 one-run games this season, winning 12 of those, and are 6-3 in extra-inning games.
Yovani Gallardo will start for Milwaukee on Saturday. He pitched seven shutout innings in Pittsburgh last Sunday in what catcher Jonathan Lucroy said was the best start of Gallardo's season.
Brewers: Segura gets a day off
Jean Segura, who batted .191 through the first 11 games of June, got the day off on Friday. Roenicke said that Segura is healthy and that he just wanted to give the shortstop a breather.
Segura's recent slump has been baffling, as he hit .326 over the last 10 games in May. Roenicke noted that despite the struggles, Segura's recent hits have been timely.
"He's come through. Even though he's been cold, bang, he gets a big hit for you," Roenicke said. "Our guys have been doing that. That's certainly more helpful than getting a hit here and there when it doesn't mean anything."
Reds: Price not worried about daunting road series
Friday's game was the first in a stretch in which 16 of 19 will be on the road. The stretch includes three games against division-leader Milwaukee, three against last year's National League Wild Card winner Pittsburgh, and four against San Francisco, currently the best team in the baseball.
Despite the tough opponents, Price said the team isn't overly worried about the trip.
"These guys are experienced in this," he said. "It can sometimes feel like the road is a blessing at times. You don't have all the other things, all the responsibilities that being at home sometimes entails. It depends on how we go about it. You win the first couple of games and you feel pretty good about yourself and just work your way through it. We're playing a lot of good teams over this stretch. We just have to play like we've been playing lately, and we'll be fine."
• Carlos Gomez has reached base safely in 28 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the Majors.
• Latos has never won a game at Miller Park: He's 0-3 with a 4.10 ERA in four starts there.
Caitlin Swieca is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.