Reds' Mesoraco Makes Healthy Progress





CINCINNATI—This spring should be a whole new experience for catcher Devin Mesoraco.

The 2007 first-round pick (15th overall) put himself back near the top of the Reds' prospect list and on the brink of the big leagues with a breakout year in the 2010. He combined to hit .302/.377/.587 in stops at high Class A Lynchburg, Double-A Carolina and Triple-A Louisville, while his 26 home runs were the most by a Reds' minor leaguer. He received the Sheldon "Chief" Bender award as the top minor league player in the Reds system.

This spring, Mesoraco expects to be more in the mix.

"In the past, I got a little playing time," he said. "The first year, I got a couple at-bats. Last year, I had a little bit of playing time. Hopefully, this coming year, I'll play there quite a bit and show everyone what I can do."

Mesoraco, 22, is from Punxsutawney, Pa., so he played a limited schedule in high school. That may have contributed to the injuries he dealt with during his first three years in the system since his first full season with low Class A Dayton in 2008.

"In Dayton, I had two bad thumbs," he said. "In Sarasota, I had a bad wrist. I don't like to put that as why my numbers weren't there, but it was something that bothered me."

Mesoraco will likely start 2011 back at Triple-A Louisville. The Reds re-signed veteran Ramon Hernandez. Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan will share major league duty. The Reds also have veteran Corky Miller at Louisville. Mesoraco probably won't be called up until September at the earliest.

RED HOTS


• Third baseman Juan Francisco fouled a ball off his leg in the Dominican League and missed a couple of weeks. He's expected to be ready to go for spring training.

• Outfielder Jeremy Hermida signed a minor league deal with the Reds. "We expect him to come in and compete for a job," general manager Walt Jocketty said. "Competition is good."