ST. LOUIS -- Class A Dayton shortstop Billy Hamilton stole three more bases on Saturday to reach 100 steals for the season. Hamilton is the first player in the organization's history to steal 100 bases, and he snapped the organization's record of 98 steals held by Ramon Sambo in 1988 for Cedar Rapids.Only 12 players in Minor League history have stolen 100 bases. The last to do it was Chris Morris, who stole 111 bases in 2001, a Midwest League record.
Mesoraco wastes no time getting first MLB hit
ST. LOUIS -- Rookie catcher Devin Mesoraco's Major League debut was clean, simple and successful.One at-bat, one pitch and one hit. Appearing Saturday as a pinch-hitter in the top of the seventh inning with two outs against Mitchell Boggs, Mesoraco lined a double off the left-field wall. He received a courteous applause from Cardinals fans. "It's always nice to get that first one out of the way," Mesoraco said on Sunday. "Now I can just go out there and play." Mesoraco was called up for the first time from Triple-A Louisville on Thursday when rosters expanded. The organization's top overall prospect batted .289 with 15 homers and 71 RBIs at Louisville. "There are guys who go a long time before they get their first hit," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He didn't waste any time -- first pitch, bam. I tell guys that if it's there, bust it. That's the same Mesoraco I saw in Spring Training busting those fastballs." Mesoraco's parents made the trip from Punxsutawney, Pa., to Cincinnati and then to St. Louis to see the 23-year-old play. The Reds were able to retrieve the ball from his first hit. "I'm sure my mom will have a nice little case or something," Mesoraco said. "I've got the lineup card and bat and everything. It will be kept in a good place." The family is headed on to Chicago on Monday, and it doesn't appear that Mesoraco will have to wait much longer to get his first start behind the plate. He will likely be in the lineup on Monday to catch for starting pitcher Dontrelle Willis in the series opener vs. the Cubs at Wrigley Field. "I've caught him 10 or 15 starts down in Louisville," Mesoraco said.
Bruce closing in on first 100-RBI season
ST. LOUIS -- Reds right fielder Jay Bruce slugged his 29th home run of the season Saturday in the eighth inning of a 6-4 loss to the Cardinals. It also gave him 88 RBIs -- both are already career highs for the 24-year-old.After what has been a challenging season at times, Bruce should be able to reach 100 RBIs with nearly four weeks to go. "To say it's not on my radar, I'd be lying," said Bruce, who entered Sunday batting .264. "But I'm not worried about it. I just have to focus on taking good at-bats, and when the opportunities arrive, capitalize on them." Bruce's best month was May, when he batted .342 with 12 homers and 33 RBIs, but he dipped to .217 with only seven RBIs in June. Last month, he had seven homers and 22 RBIs but batted .238. If he could smooth the peaks and valleys to a flatter plane, that would make his numbers even more satisfying. "It's been an up-and-down season for me," Bruce said. "I don't feel like I've performed as well as I could have, especially with my average. But my production is up. I'm getting better in those areas, but there is still a ton of work I need to do.
"Becoming more consistent is something I always try to work at. I haven't gotten there yet, but I have the opportunity to do some pretty good things for the team this year and myself. I will keeping grinding these last 23 games out and see what happens at the end. There is a lot of baseball left."