Cincinnati Reds: Mesoraco unlikely to be ready for Opening Day

Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco leaves the mound after visiting with Alfredo Simon during a game against the Pirates on April 8, 2016, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

caption arrowCaption
Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco leaves the mound after visiting with Alfredo Simon during a game against the Pirates on April 8, 2016, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco likely will not be ready to break spring training camp for Opening Day. Mesoraco has had no setbacks but the Reds are still working on his stamina after two separate surgeries on his hip and shoulder.

He is scheduled to play back-to-back games — Tuesday and Wednesday — either in Cactus Legue or minor league game.

“That back-to-back is a big step for Devin,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “We tried to rehabilitate him in the big leagues with scheduled days off. You really can’t do that. If you schedule him to play every other day and Tucker takes a foul tip off his thumb, Devin has to go out and play. It is unfair to him to activate him before he can handle the workload. I think he has a little ways to go.”

The Reds want Mesoraco to build up to nine innings, then back-to-back games. He will not catch nine innings Tuesday and Wednesday.

Mesoraco was limited to 39 games the last two seasons.

Either Stuart Turner of Rob Brantly will back up Tucker Barnhart to start the season.

Lorenzen on offense?

Michael Lorenzen was a center fielder at Cal State Fullerton who was also used as a closer.

The Reds drafted Lorenzen with the competitive lottery pick (38th overall) in the 2013 draft under the condition he committed to pitching. Price envisions using Lorenzen’s offensive skills during the season. He had a stolen base on Friday on a hit-and-run situation with Zack Cozart. With Lorenzen running, Cozart struck out but Lorenzen beat the throw.

The Reds are deciding between aneigh t-man bullpen and four-man bench or a seven-man bullpen and five-man bench.

Lorenzen’s offensive skills will come into play with a short bench.

Arroyo closing in on roster spot

Bronson Arroyo hasn’t pitched in the big leagues in 2 1/2 years. He is throwing pain free now, building up to four innings.

“We have to see those five- or six-inning outings,” Price said. “I’m really happy with how he’s pitched and how he’s rebounded from pitching. The question coming in was his durability and his ability to provide length. I’d be very optimistic as he goes through his next two outings if he satisfies that requirement.”

Arroyo will pitch in minor league games his next two starts, one on Tuesday and one on April 2 in Arizona. He would have to join the Reds in Cincinnati if he earns the roster spot.

“I have no doubt that he will be pitching in the major leagues with us as a starter,” Price said.

“We just want to make sure we check off every box that he is confident he got the workload to be prepared to pitch as a starting pitcher.”

Rookie Davis in position to make team

Rookie Davis pitched 4 2/3 innings Sunday against the Seattle Mariners. Davis, who hit a double in a game earlier this spring, hit a long home run off Drew Smyly. The Reds lost 7-6.

A couple of errors by Hernan Iribarren led to a pair of unearned runs of the five allowed by Davis, who surrendered six hits, including a two-run home run by Taylor Motter. Davis walked a batter and struck out seven, giving him two walks and 17 strikeouts in 15 2/3 Cactus League innings.

Davis started his fifth Cactus League game having allowed four earned runs in 11 innings.

“I was fighting fastball command all day. I thought the third, fourth and fifth innings were better,” Davis said. “Aside from the home run, I threw a lot of first pitch fastballs that they ambushed a little bit. I need to make better pitches down in the strike zone.”

The body of work has put Davis in good position to make the team, whether the Reds make the decision to promote him directly from Double-A will be determined in the next four days.

“I feel like I’ve gone out and competed every time,” Davis said. “It was an emphasis of mine to enjoy it and compete. I put myself in the best position possible. Today was one of those days, you have to fight. I had to battle through it. I put myself in a good position. It’s out of my hands now. Wherever, I am it is going to be the same mindset; go out and compete every time.”

Bailey, Iglesias start throwing

Starter Homer Bailey, who had bone chips removed from his elbow on Feb. 2, has started a throwing program. He will throw a baseball starting Monday. He has been working with a weighted ball off a pitch-back netting.

Reliever Raisel Iglesias played catch from 90 feet on Saturday. He felt fine. He will likely pitch a bullpen before the team leaves on Wednesday..

About the Author