GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds starting pitcher Mat Latos took a big step forward on Wednesday in his efforts to return from left knee surgery.
For the first time since a Feb. 14 operation to repair a meniscus tear, Latos threw from a mound in the bullpen. He made 20 pitches, including five changeups. The rest, he said, were two-seam and four-seam fastballs.
"Everything feels fantastic," Latos said. "I expected a little bit of soreness while I was throwing, or to feel it once or twice. I didn't feel anything while I was throwing. My mechanics were a little off. The ball was up, but that's to be expected. I'm almost three weeks late."
Not to be forgotten is that Latos also had arthroscopic surgery in October to remove bone chips from his right elbow.
"I let go for the last one and cut it loose and didn't feel anything in the knee or the elbow. That's a plus," Latos said.
Latos is scheduled to have another bullpen session on Saturday. As for his readiness for the start of the regular season, he did not know.
"I'd love to be there against St. Louis for Opening Day and the next away series [at New York]," Latos said. "Am I pushing for it? Yes. But there's nothing I can do. It's out of my hands."
Another Reds starter, Mike Leake, also returned to a bullpen mound after he missed his first start on Sunday because of a minor abdominal strain. There were no issues for Leake, who is now scheduled to start on Friday.
Reliever Jonathan Broxton, who is trying to return from August surgery on his right forearm, had his fourth bullpen session of camp. Broxton threw almost 40 pitches and mixed in breaking balls for the first time.
Hannahan's recovery may open door for bench spot
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Still rehabbing from October surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, Reds backup third baseman Jack Hannahan remains unable to get into a game.
"He's had typical shoulder recovery issues," Reds manager Bryan Price said on Wednesday. "It's a hard rehab, but it's going to get better. He's had his share of good days and bad days. He's getting closer to feeling capable of playing, but he's got to be able to throw. He's still a little ways away from being ready."
The Reds have alternative options should Hannahan begin the season on the disabled list. Signed in the offseason to Minor League contracts were Ramon Santiago and Chris Nelson, and there are other possibilities.
"Jason Bourgeois has some infield experience as well as an outfielder. He's hit left-handed pitching real well. Kris Negron has been a player that can do both," Price said. "It may play more to somebody that can play multiple infield spots. I think that Skip [Schumaker] will be at second base periodically but primarily be in the outfield. There might be some importance for having someone who has some infield flexibility as well."
Lorenzen, Stephenson bringing the heat
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- During Tuesday's game with the Royals, two of the Reds' top pitching prospects were displaying some serious heat on the radar gun. Michael Lorenzen, who threw a perfect inning, was hitting 98 mph.
No. 1 pitching prospect Robert Stephenson frequently touched 96 mph, but allowed two runs and five hits in his two innings.
"We've got some hard throwers in camp," Reds manager Bryan Price said on Wednesday. "I think the best thing that happens sometimes in this camp is when the hard throwers give up some hits. You talk about you should be able to manage an inning or two with your fastball only if you can command it. Sheer velocity, with rare exception, overpowers big league hitters.
"This is really a good introduction. Our young guys have come in throwing some velocity numbers but still have found the barrel with some regularity. You have to be able to manage the fastball, manage the strike zone and you've got to pitch down."
• Wednesday's game vs. the Dodgers marked the Reds' first night game of this year's Spring Training. There are two more night games remaining on Cincinnati's Cactus League schedule.
"I like them because you get to sleep in," Price said. "That's the biggest bonus. If you're a position player, it definitely benefits playing at night. It's a different environment seeing the ball off the bat. You primarily play night games during the regular season. This is early in the spring season."