GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Devin Mesoraco is doing everything all the other catchers in camp are doing — just not as much of it.
Mesoraco had surgery to correct the impingement in his left hip on June 29. The Reds are bringing him along a bit more slowly.
“We rotate him in and out of catching bullpens,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “(Catching coach) Mike Stefanski and (trainer) Steve Baumann have really taken the lead on the workload. As much as he looks like he’s on the same schedule as the other guys, as that pace picks up, we’ll probably still be slowing him down a bit. We’re going to pump the brakes on Devin a bit and ease him back in.”
Mesoraco feels great four days into spring.
“Everything gone perfectly fine,” he said. “Honestly, Stef and I did a lot more than this back in Cincinnati. I wasn’t expecting any problems and there haven’t been any.”
Mesoraco will catch fewer innings once the spring games start as well.
“I think you’ll also see that on the front end of the spring training games,” Price said. “I don’t think it’s a continued rehab as much as it is getting him into shape a slower pace than you would for a guy who’s not coming off a hip surgery.”
HOMER UPDATE: Homer Bailey, who is coming off May 8 Tommy John surgery, threw his first bullpen Saturday.
“He’s great,” Price said. “He felt fine. It was his third bullpen (overall). He really hasn’t had any setbacks. He was throwing at the end of August. He went up to Thanksgiving and then had basically a typical offseason as far as gaining strength, getting on throwing program and then reinitiating that throwing program as if he were coming to spring to training to be ready on Opening Day. The only difference is we’re going to extend to be sure when he does get activated that it’s not too much too soon.”
Bailey is expected to return to the rotation around May 1. He won’t be going eight or nine innings from the start.
“Probably on the front end, we’ll be a little bit more cautious with the pitches and the innings,” Price said. “It’s a common surgery with unique responses to it. Some guys bounce back really quickly. Some guys don’t. Some guys get in game situations and bounce back normally. Others don’t. The front end is the most important that we stay relatively cautious. But as he builds up strength and we get to see what he’s all about, we’ll make decision on pitches and innings and workload.”
CATCHING THEIR EYES: Being a catcher is quickest way to get an early invitation to spring training. The Reds have seven catchers in the camp because they’re needed to catch all the pitches in camp. There are 34 pitchers.
It’s a chance to get noticed.
“A lot of the seeds are planted for opportunity during the season in spring training for those who don’t make the Opening Day roster,” Price said. “For someone like Ramon Cabrera, he put himself on the map. He was a relatively unknown in our organization. He ends up not only performing well in September, but he’s a guy we’re very confident could be a major league player. I don’t know if it’s an everyday player, but I think he’s a major league talent.
“Kris Negron was an example. I know he’s not a catcher. But we talk about those young guys. Joe Hudson. If you can catch and lead a pitching staff, you can play in the big leagues. Corky Miller is a great example of that. He played 4 1/2, 5 years in the big leagues as a guy who wasn’t a strong offensive player, but universally staffs loved to throw to him. That has value.”