PEORIA, Ariz. -- Alex Rios took Mat Latos deep in an 8-5 White Sox win over the San Diego Padres on Monday and is now hitting .295 with four homers and 14 RBIs in Cactus League play.
Latos was hit hard in the first inning at Peoria Stadium, but then settled down and lasted into the fifth inning.White Sox starter Mark Buehrle was a late scratch because of rainy, wet weather on Monday in the Phoenix area. By game time, the sky was clear and it was a crisp 52 degrees as Jeff Marquez started for Chicago. Buehrle will start instead on Tuesday in a Minor League game against the Reds in Goodyear, Ariz. The White Sox scored three runs before recording an out as Juan Pierre led with a double and scored on Gordon Beckham's single. Rios then hit his fourth homer of the spring. But Latos had no qualms about the way he pitched. "I feel amazing. I feel great," Latos said. "I feel like I'm one step closer to where I need to be. It's obvious I wasn't putting my breaking pitch over. But my fastball had life. My baseball had movement on it. Even after 90 pitches, I feel great."
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Latos, who is the top candidate to start the Padres' regular-season opener against the Cardinals on March 31, has struggled this spring, allowing 10 earned runs, 16 hits and nine walks over 10 innings in his four starts.He left the game in the fifth, having loaded the bases with none out. Ernesto Frieri replaced him and retired the next three batters without allowing a run. In the game, Latos allowed three runs, eight hits, three walks and the home run. He struck out three. He stretched out to throw 90 pitches. He also had a two-run single back to the box in the second inning. On the play, Marquez had a throwing error. Marquez worked four innings and was touched for three runs (two earned), while walking one and whiffing two. "It went well," said Marquez, who is still in the mix for Chicago's final relief spot. "I had only thrown two innings [in a game this spring] before, but four innings wasn't a problem. I felt good. All of my pitches were working. I felt comfortable out there."
Up next for White Sox: The White Sox are down to the final couple of roster decisions before breaking camp, and two of those players on the bubble will be on display Tuesday in Peoria against the Mariners. Lastings Milledge gets the start in left field and will be leading off, while Brent Lillibridge hits ninth and starts in center. Milledge and Lillibridge stand as the main candidates for the 25th man or last utility outfield spot. Edwin Jackson gets the call on the mound for the White Sox, with Felix Hernandez starting for Seattle in the 3:05 CT matchup.
Up next for Padres: The Padres play the Brewers at 3:05 CT at Maryvale Ballpark on Tuesday with left-hander Clayton Richard starting for San Diego and right-hander Marco Estrada going for the Brew Crew in a matchup available on Gameday Audio. Richard was slowed at the start of Spring Training by a sore left shoulder and is making only his third spring start.
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.