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Starter Mat Latos has surgery on torn knee cartilage as Reds open spring training

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. - Starter Mat Latos had surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee on Friday while the rest of the Cincinnati Reds pitchers and catchers got physicals and worked out.

Their spring training started with a setback.

Latos is expected to be sidelined for about 10 days. He tore cartilage while throwing in Arizona a few days ago, and an MRI found the tear. He had arthroscopic surgery on Friday morning while his teammates were getting ready for the first workout of camp.

"It was an easy repair, a quick repair," general manager Walt Jocketty said. "Very minor surgery. He'll probably resume his throwing program in about 10 days."

Latos went 14-7 last season with a 3.16 ERA in 32 starts. He had surgery to remove bone chips from his pitching elbow at the end of the season and had recovered well from that operation. He felt something happen in the knee during one of his throws while he worked out on Tuesday.

When the knee was sore a day later, Latos went for an MRI that found the tear. The Reds think there's a good chance he can be ready to start the season.

"Is it unfortunate? Yeah," Jocketty said. "But it's not something we're overly concerned about."

Except for Latos, the pitching staff is healthy as the Reds open camp under first-year manager Bryan Price, who was elevated from pitching coach to replace Dusty Baker. Price moved from field to field during the first workout on Friday, forcing himself to let his assistant coaches fill their roles without interference.

"First day with the pitchers and catchers as manager, it's an unbelievably exciting time for me," Price said. "More importantly, the guys looked good."

Price stood by the side of one of the bullpen mounds and watched catcher Brayan Pena work with minor leaguer Chad Rogers, a right-hander who made it to Triple-A last season.

"C'mon kiddo," Pena said, crouching behind a plate. "You're dancing with the stars!"

When Rogers threw a fastball right on spot, Pena yelled out, "There you go!"

Price resisted the urge to step in during the workout — that's the job of new pitching coach Jeff Pico.

"It's already in good hands," Price said. "It's going to be hard to break the instincts of being a pitching coach, but I'll get there."

Two of the Reds' biggest questions in the bullpen involve their set-up relievers. Both are making progress from injuries that wiped out much of last season.

Right-hander Jonathan Broxton had surgery in August to repair a tear in his forearm. He's had no setbacks as he gets back into pitching shape.

"Broxton's on a throwing program, throwing three or four days a week," Price said. "I think we're going to stay pretty consistent with it. Again, he's another guy that we don't know when he's going to be ready. He could be ready for opening day, we could be getting him later in April."

Left-hander Sean Marshall was on the disabled list for most of the season with a sprained shoulder that limited him to 16 appearances. He came off the disabled list on Sept. 16 and made five hitless appearances, an indication he was finally healthy. Marshall said on Friday that he's been cautious in the off-season, trying to get the shoulder back to full strength.

He led the Reds with 73 appearances in 2012. He developed a sore shoulder during spring training last year and had trouble getting healthy.

"It wasn't very fun," Marshall said. "You just kind of keep going. The only thing I can do is just stay with my strengthening program. Take it a little slower this year in spring training and peak at the right time."

Notes: Three players couldn't make the first workout because of travel problems caused by the East Coast storm. Pitchers Carlos Contreras, Daniel Corcino and infielder Neftali Soto had their flights cancelled. ... Soto, who was a catcher earlier in his career, has asked for the chance to catch during spring workouts so he can become more versatile. He could be used as an emergency catcher. ... The Reds are still trying to reach agreement with pitcher Homer Bailey, who has an arbitration hearing scheduled for Feb. 20. Bailey has asked for $11.6 million, while the Reds have offered $8.7 million.

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Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay

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