04/01/12 8:35 PM ET
Lefty Francis to start at Triple-A Louisville
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
Opening Day to be special for Mesoraco
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- As he prepares to open a season on the big league roster for the first time, Reds rookie catcher Devin Mesoraco is eager to get going.Mesoraco's spring stats aren't overly robust, but he feels ready. "Definitely," Mesoraco said. "I think defensively I've been pretty strong down here. That was my main focus coming into camp -- get on a good page with these pitchers. Hitting-wise, I started off slow. But the past couple of games, I've felt better and better." Mesoraco, who was 1-for-2 with an RBI triple during Sunday's 13-10 loss to the White Sox, is batting .250 this spring. The 23-year-old has worked on his hitting mechanics with coach Brook Jacoby and got extra at-bats in Minor League games of late. With hits in seven of his last nine games, Mesoraco is batting .364 (8-for-22) in that stretch. "Early in camp, I was underneath the ball and popping a lot up, which isn't a terrible thing," Mesoraco said. "It just means I was a hair off. I think now I'm pretty close to where I expect to be the whole way through the season." A September callup last season and the organization's top prospect, Mesoraco is excited to soak up the memories that come with his first Opening Day in the Majors when the Reds play the Marlins on Thursday at Great American Ball Park. "My first Opening Day will be pretty special," Mesoraco said. "It was great to be up there in September and have that. To start the season with the club is a completely different feel. It's not like I am the new guy coming in. I'm one of the guys. With everything I hear about Cincinnati and Opening Day, it should be an awesome experience."
Futures squad roster unveiled by Reds
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Reds revealed the roster of the Minor League Futures squad that will play the big league team in Tuesday's exhibition game at Great American Ball Park.Managed by Triple-A Louisville skipper and Cincinnati native David Bell, the squad will include shortstop prospects Billy Hamilton and Didi Gregorious, first baseman Neftali Soto, outfielders Denis Phipps, Ryan LaMarre and Kyle Waldrop and pitcher Robert Stephenson, last year's first-round Draft pick. First pitch for the Reds vs. Futures game will be at 7:10 p.m. ET. Gates open at 5 p.m. for batting practice by both teams.
The Reds will hold a 4 p.m. ET workout at Great American Ball Park on Wednesday, the day before Opening Day. It is not open to the public. Right-handed reliever Jordan Smith, who is recovering from a sore right elbow, believes he is at 100 percent again. Smith will remain in Arizona for extended Spring Training to keep throwing after camp breaks on Monday.