Mat Latos had a very good year last year. But you can't help but wonder how much better it would have been if he hadn't had a very bad April.

Latos went 1-2 with a 5.97 ERA in April. The rest of the way he was 13-2 with a 2.93 ERA.

Latos, the 25-year-old right-hander, made his spring debut Friday in the Reds' 3-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals. He went two scoreless innings.

Latos would like to avoid another rough April.

"It's the difference from having to battle back from a 5.00 ERA," he said. "That's obvious. You don't want to get the (stuffing) kicked out of you for all of April and then have to battle back."

Latos has struggled his whole big league career in March/April. He's 2-8 with a 5.73 ERA. Look at his ERAs in the other months: May (2.65), June (3.80), July (2.77), August (3.14), September/October (3.28).

"A struggle early is better than a struggle late," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "You're going to struggle. If you don't struggle some, you're going to win 20 games. Even then, you're going to struggle.

"I'll take more of the same. That's pretty good for a kid -- to be 14-4 and struggle."