"It hasn't dropped," Latos said, noting that he was clocked at 97 mph on his final pitch of the afternoon on Wednesday."They're going to do what they're going to do," Latos added, referring to Padres management. "I can't change that. I can only go out there when they send me out there and continue to compete." Then there's the specter of Chris Young's return. The right-hander, recovering from a surgically repaired shoulder, made a rehab start on Tuesday night, threw three innings, and is being tabbed to make at least one more before the Minor League season runs its course. Under the best of circumstances, he could rejoin the team in the middle of the month, giving the Padres seven competent and healthy starters for the stretch run. That in itself may be a stretch, Black said, adding that the jury is still out regarding what the club intends to do about Latos and Young. Young hasn't pitched in the big leagues since April 6 at Chase Field, when he threw six innings of one-hit ball in a 6-3 victory over the D-backs. "Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves," the manager said. "It's unfair to put those kinds of expectations on C.Y. And as far as Latos is concerned, we'll see what happens when he gets closer to that 180 mark." Asked if the Padres might drop Latos from the postseason rotation if he exceeds that number, Black calmly responded: "No." The fact is that despite leading the Major Leagues with a 3.35 ERA, the Padres aren't content with their starting pitching. The hierarchy reportedly scoured the waiver wire for help right up until postseason rosters had to be set at the witching hour on Tuesday night. Correia hasn't won since Aug. 16, and has allowed 20 earned runs during his last three starts. LeBlanc hasn't won since Aug. 15 and has given up 16 earned runs in his last three starts. The rotation has thrown 759 1/3 innings, thus the decision to use Luebke for a spot start, moving Garland back to Saturday and Richard to Sunday. Black would make no commitment about the rotation beyond the Rockies series. "After that we'll reassess," he said. That reassessment for right now undoubtedly involves Correia and LeBlanc. As Latos said, he's feeling "perfectly fine," and pitching at a high level, too.
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.