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What needs to happen before Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco returns

What needs to happen before Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco returns
Posted at 11:36 AM, Apr 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-15 11:36:59-04

CINCINNATI -- Catcher Devin Mesoraco is getting close.

Mesoraco is scheduled to catch back-to-back nine-inning games Tuesday and Wednesday.

“At that point, we’ll have a chance to take a look to see if he’s ready,” Reds manager Bryan Price said.

Mesoraco, recovering from shoulder and hip surgeries, is eight days into a rehab assignment at Double-A Pensacola.

“He’s doing great, talked to him yesterday,” Price said. “I talk to (Pensacola manager) Pat Kelly after every outing. (Mesoraco’s) doing good. He’s going have a 9, a day off, and back-to-back 9s.”

Mesoraco had played in five games entering Saturday. He was 4-for-19 with a home run and three RBI.

The May shoulder surgery affected his hitting. The June hip surgery affected his catching.

“We had a checklist of three boxes he has to check off,” Price said. “The durability factor -- how does he feel after the back-to-back 9s? Is it realistic to think he could catch three games in the row without having any setbacks or causing any issues? How does he feel behind the plate? How’s he moving behind the plate? The flow of the game, getting his feet out from under him to block -- will he be able to get out of stance and throw? That would be box No. 2. Box No. 3 is how he feels at the plate. Is he comfortable? Is he seeing the ball well? Is his swing where it needs to be?

“When those three boxes are checked off, we’ll bring him up to Cincinnati.”

A minor league assignment is limited to 20 days for position players, so the Reds will have to make some decision on Mesoraco by April 27.

If they decide to activate him, they’ll have to make a call on Stuart Turner. Turner, the Rule 5 pick from the Minnesota, must stay on the 25-man roster or be offered back to the Twins.

“All I will say to that is we don’t want to lose Stuart Turner,” Price said. “I like what Stuart does. I think he’s a kid that help us in the organization. I think he can play at this level now. He doesn’t need more seasoning. However, in the three-catcher, it's hard to get him regular playing time, so we have to find a way to do it with a five-man bench.”

The other two big names on the disabled list -- right-handers Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani -- aren’t close. They aren’t eligible to be activated until June 1 because they are on the 60-day DL.

But it’s likely to be longer than that.

Bailey, with a Feb. 8 elbow surgery, is throwing from 180 feet. He’ll get off the mound soon. But Price said a mid-June activation is more realistic. DeSclafani, elbow strain, hasn't begun throwing yet, so he’s behind Bailey.