03/25/2013 7:40 PM ET
Mesoraco embracing competition for roster spot
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Unlike last spring, Devin Mesoraco knew his roster status during camp this year was not a stone-cold lock. The catcher was aware he would have to earn a spot.
Mesoraco, who is competing with non-roster invite Miguel Olivo for the spot behind primary catcher Ryan Hanigan, has acquitted himself very well. Mesoraco is batting .361 (13-for-36) this spring, even after a 0-for-4 game on Monday vs. the Mariners that snapped his team-high eight-game hitting streak.
"I feel like I came in with a good plan and came in prepared," Mesoraco said. "I knew it was going to be a little bit different thing than last year. I had to prove myself. I'm happy with the way I've played and with the way things have turned out.
"It means a little more, because I did have to show I could produce. At the same time, I feel like it's not that many at-bats. Things tend to even out to the mean over time."
During his rookie season, Mesoraco batted .212 with five home runs and 14 RBIs in 54 games. He struggled with the nuances of starting two out of five days of the pitching rotation.
If Mesoraco makes the club, he would likely catch primarily for Homer Bailey and Mike Leake -- the Nos. 4 and 5 starters, respectively. Mesoraco has caught both pitchers' last few starts, including Bailey on Monday.
"I think it will be a lot smoother," Mesoraco said. "I do have an idea going into it how to prepare myself to have three days off, if that's what happens. I've done it before. Going into last year, I didn't know what to expect, playing-time wise. I never had more than one day off coming up my whole career.
"This upcoming year, with the knowledge I gained last year, it should be an easier adjustment. There are certain things I can do to help alleviate those problems, whether it's just hitting more or going out taking my BP a little more seriously, whatever it is. I can do a better job of preparing myself for the situation, as opposed to last season."
Arroyo on track for final spring start Friday
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Even Bronson Arroyo couldn't believe it. One day after being clocked on his pitching hand by a line drive, the Reds starting pitcher felt no pain.
"It feels great. I can play catch right now," Arroyo said with a smile on Monday morning while bouncing a baseball on the floor next to his locker with his right hand. "Sometimes you get surprised."
Arroyo still had plenty of evidence from Sunday's sixth-inning line drive off the bat of the Rangers' David Murphy. The stitches from the baseball were imprinted on the knuckle on the outside portion of Arroyo's hand. A red welt was visible on his left forearm.
"That's the ricochet. It's still there," Arroyo said. "I can't believe how hard that hit me."
Both Arroyo and manager Dusty Baker feared it was a serious injury initially as he exited the game. But X-rays taken were negative for any fractures.
"I heard it first, then when I saw it, he told me, 'That was it. It was broken,'" Baker said. "I saw the hand, and that's what I thought. We immediately went to, 'What are we going to do? What changes are we going to make? How long is he going to be out?' You start having all of those thoughts. And [Mat] Latos got hit on the leg the day before. It's like, 'Let's get out of here pretty soon.'"
Arroyo, who has never missed a game because of an injury throughout his whole professional career, is still on track to make his last spring start on Friday vs. Arizona.
"This guy takes pride in pitching and being able to pitch," Baker said. "I've only seen a few like him in my career -- very few, actually."
Donald making strides toward return to action
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds infielder Jason Donald, who has been out since Thursday's game with a sore right knee, has made progress toward returning. Donald looked smooth during Monday morning's infield drills.
This spring, Donald, who is out of options, is competing with Emmanuel Burriss and Cesar Izturis for the utility player spot.
"We'll see where he is," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He's going to get some Minor League at-bats DH-ing today. He's anxious to get back. Like I've said, it's harder to make the team in the training room. But if you're hurt, you're hurt."
• The Reds on Monday revealed their plans for Opening Day on April 1 vs. the Angels. Before the 4:10 p.m. ET game, Reds great George Foster will serve as the grand marshal of the 94th Findlay Market parade. The parade kicks off at noon.
World Baseball Classic Team USA manager and ex-Yankees skipper Joe Torre will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Cincinnati firefighter John Winfrey will sing the national anthem and radio host Bob Kevoian from the syndicated "Bob and Tom Show" will serve as the honorary captain.
To honor the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, the Reds and all MLB teams will wear a special ribbon and observe a pregame moment of silence.