Cincinnati Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco is working his way back from a hip injury that had him miss 139 games in 2015.
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Mesoraco Comments on Playing Status
Saturday, March 5
"I would say we've slowed things down a little bit. It's not anything alarming," Mesoraco said on Saturday morning. "It's a little bit slower just to give me a little more time to do everything a little more. I would say within the next seven to 10 days, I will be out there."
Latest on Mesoraco's Practice Status
Thursday, Feb. 18
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer's Zach Buchanan, Mesoraco was at the Reds' spring training on Thursday in Arizona, but he will be limited. Buchanan noted that the 27-year-old said there are "no more hurdles left to climb."
Mesoraco isn't the only Red who is on the recovery trail. Cincinnati is also waiting for the return of starting pitchers Homer Bailey and John Lamb. Per Buchanan, "Mesoraco is the closest to being full-go" out of the three injured players.
Mesoraco Eager to Bounce Back from Injury-Plagued 2015
Last season was an unfortunate follow-up for Mesoraco, who had a breakout 2014 in which he hit 25 home runs and drove in 80 runs in 114 games on his way to an All-Star selection.
Entering the 2015 season, he was set to see an even more expanded role. But the hip injury, which he suffered in May, brought everything to a halt.
The injury made him realize that he needs to be cautious this spring training, as he told Buchanan: "We talked last year about catching 130 or 140 games, and I think I caught like six. That was frustrating. But I think at this point, I understand it’s going to be the best for me to take a day here or take a day here, to not progress too fast."
Reds manager Bryan Price also disclosed to Buchanan that he is hoping Mesoraco will be ready by Opening Day.
Without Mesoraco's presence in the lineup last season, the Reds struggled mightily. Relying mostly on Joey Votto (29 home runs) and Todd Frazier (35 home runs) as its big bats, Cincinnati limped to a 64-98 2015 season.
The Reds got nothing from the catcher position, as Brayan Pena didn't hit a single home run and drove in just 18 runs in 108 games behind the plate. Backup Tucker Barnhart didn't fare much better, as he recorded three home runs and 18 RBI in 81 games.
With Pena now gone to the St. Louis Cardinals, Barnhart will be Cincinnati's man behind the plate if Mesoraco is not ready to go by the time the regular season rolls around.
Hopefully for Cincinnati, Mesoraco will be good to go, because without him, the Reds' power options are few. The team dealt Frazier to the Chicago White Sox in the offseason and would have to rely on Votto and Jay Bruce.
Playing in a stacked National League Central that includes the perennially contending Cardinals, the up-and-coming Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Reds need a full, healthy team that includes Mesoraco if they want any hope of staying afloat in 2016.
Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.