Mat Latos, who pitched in Fort Wayne as recently as this season, could be in line for a promotion to the Major Leagues. If his contract is purchased this season, it would mark the first time a player has played in Fort Wayne and been called up to San Diego during the same season.

SAN DIEGO — On Sunday, Padres manager Bud Black alluded to impending player movement for the second half of the season saying, “… in the next week to 10 days, you’re going to see a few new faces.”

All indications are that one of those players will be 21-year-old right-handed pitcher Mat Latos, who likely will be promoted from Double-A San Antonio this weekend for a start against the Rockies at PETCO Park.

Latos is considered to be San Diego’s top Minor League pitching prospect.

San Diego general manager Kevin Towers said late Monday that the Padres are “having internal discussions about the possibility” of purchasing Latos’ contract, adding him to the 40-man roster and sticking him in the starting rotation.

If the Padres do make a move to promote Latos, it likely wouldn’t occur until Sunday, when the Padres face the Rockies. The Padres have yet to announce a starting pitcher for that game.

Latos, who tossed a scoreless inning in Sunday’s Futures Game in St. Louis, has risen quickly in 2009, going 3-0 with a 0.36 ERA with Class A Fort Wayne TinCaps and then completely bypassing high-Class A Lake Elsinore for Double-A San Antonio.

Latos is 5-1 with a 1.91 ERA in nine starts for San Antonio with 46 strikeouts and nine walks in 47 innings. Opponents are hitting .192 against him.

Towers has hinted several times in the past month that Latos would arrive in the Major Leagues before rosters expand from 25 to 40 players on September 1.

But Towers cautioned last month that the team is wary of Latos’ workload. He’s already pitched 72 1/3 innings this season, more than he pitched in any of his first two seasons (both, ironically, 56 innings).

“I just think he’s still inexperienced,” Towers said. “He’s never thrown more than 55 innings [in one season]. Even though he’s flat-dominated, if we bring him up, he could end with 150 or so innings. That’s more than triple what he’s used to.”

That means, Towers said, that Latos could be shut down before the season ends as a safeguard against a heavy workload.

“To me, a good barometer is to no more than double the innings,” Towers said.

Latos, who was selected by the Padres in the 11th round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft and signed before the ‘07 Draft, spent part of Spring Training in Major League camp, a first for him.

He has impressed the Padres with his maturity this season and his advancement as a pitcher.

“He’s answered the call on everything we’ve asked him to do,” Padres vice president of scouting and player development Grady Fuson said after Latos was promoted to San Antonio in May. “He’s down in the strike zone, his velocity is great, his changeup is great. He’s ready to be challenged.”


Corey Brock is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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