Latos, who has a 9.00 ERA this spring, said he didn't feel the weight of his expectations during a four-plus inning outing on Monday night. It's those expectations he believes have hindered him this spring.
Latos earned a no-decision in the Padres' 8-5 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
"I feel like I was putting a little too much pressure on myself the first couple of outings," Latos said. "New faces, and I wanted to try and impress people when it's really not what I need to do. I need to worry about what I do off the field more than what I do on the field.
"I sat down and had a couple of talks with some people and just straightened myself out. I feel I need to just go out there and be me and not somebody else."
Alex Rios hit a two-run home run to highlight Chicago's three-run first inning against Latos.
Latos was 14-10 with a 2.92 ERA in 31 starts last spring but he lost his final five starts of the regular season. Before that stretch, Latos set a major league record with 15 straight starts in which he allowed two earned runs or fewer in five or more innings.
Latos said he was pleased with the late life on his fastball and how he was able to command the pitch. He was liked his changeup, but said his curveball and slider weren't as consistent.
Latos threw 90 pitches and allowed eight hits and three walks. He also had three strikeouts.
Padres manager Bud Black said he saw a "crisp" delivery and good signs from Latos. Black also understands why his 22-year-old ace could be feeling pressure after a breakout season.
"A year ago there wasn't the attention on this kid that there is now," Black said. "That goes with the territory of being one of the best pitchers in the National League. He's going to continue to grow and learn from having the attention on him. He's going to handle it better.
"The main thing we have to continue to stress to him is to keep the focus on the game and what he has to do to get people out and make pitches."
Padres reliever Ernesto Frieri bailed Latos out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning with three quick outs, including two strikeouts. San Diego closer Heath Bell pitched also struck out two in a scoreless inning.
Greg Paiml hit a two-run homer during a four-run eighth inning against Padres reliever Randy Flores.