5/27/2013 2:44 P.M. ET
New pitching and catching rotation may help Mesoraco
By Mark Sheldon and Jeremy Warnemuende / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- As the Reds took two of three games from the Cubs over the weekend, catcher Devin Mesoraco did not see even a hint of action.
Combine that with the team being idle on Thursday, and Mesoraco's start on Monday was his first time playing after four days off. He last caught on Wednesday vs. the Mets. Reds manager Dusty Baker is exploring altering his catching tandem of Ryan Hanigan and Mesoraco.
"I've got to find a way to kind of change this [pitching] rotation up a little bit," Baker said on Monday. "The guys that are throwing well to [Hanigan] are throwing so well to him that it's not really fair to Mesoraco to miss three days in a row and expect to keep his stroke. We'll figure something out -- changing up off-days or something."
During the Cubs series, Hanigan caught Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto as he usually does. Mesoraco often gets Mat Latos and Mike Leake. It was Leake who started vs. the Indians on Monday.
"I think [change will help]. Especially this time the way the off-day fell, four days off in a row is quite a bit," Mesoraco said. "It's not something I'm used to. I just went out there and tried to replicate some game situations the best I can, whether it be in batting practice or early work."
Mesoraco also fell back on his experience from his rookie season in 2012.
"It's not like it hadn't happened last year. I don't expect it to change a whole lot," Mesoraco said. "It just takes a little getting used to."
Baker addresses Garza's criticism of Cueto
CINCINNATI -- In the sixth inning of Sunday's series finale against the Cubs, Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto threw a pitch high over the head of David DeJesus. Home-plate umpire Bob Davidson warned both benches, play moved on and Chicago went on to win, 5-4, in 10 innings without incident.
After the game, though, Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza took exception to the pitch and sent his own warning to Cueto.
"I took total disrespect out of that," Garza said. "[DeJesus] has never done anything wrong, he just plays the game the right way. If Cueto has any problem, he can throw at me, and I'll definitely return the favor. I didn't like that one bit. We don't retaliate. We take it game by game. Hopefully, he learns to grow the [heck] up. That's totally uncalled for."
Reds manager Dusty Baker wasn't aware of what Garza said until Monday morning, and his reaction after hearing about it was simple:
"Take care of it then," Baker said. "I mean, [Cueto] couldn't hit Wilt Chamberlain with that pitch."
Baker had not talked to Cueto about what happened, and the 27-year-old right-hander wasn't available for comment after Sunday's game or before Monday's game vs. the Indians. Cueto appeared annoyed in the first inning when DeJesus repeatedly stepped out of the box between pitches, but Baker said he didn't think there was any bad blood between anyone involved.
The pitch occurred with the Reds holding on to a 4-0 lead and after Garza had been chased from the game.
"Would [Garza] have been as upset if he got the win instead of potentially get a loss?" Baker said. "You got something to say, you go over there and tell him. Johnny ain't running. Know what I mean? A guy can say what he wants to say, but it's better if you go over and say it to his face.
"Can't be selling woof tickets. Somebody will buy them."
Baker said he came "from a different school" and didn't agree with the way Garza handled his frustrations.
"Guys didn't talk as much," Baker said about when he played. "You just did it. Guys are nicer now. They are. They all have the same agents, they all played on certain All-Star teams, they text each other, email each other. Nice game now.
"I just wish, put them in a room, let them box and let it be over with, know what I mean?" Baker said. "I always said this. Let it be like hockey. Let them fight, somebody hits the ground and then it'll be over with. I'm serious about that."
At full health, Hanigan hitting his stride
CINCINNATI -- Since returning from the disabled list on May 10, Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan appears on his way to rebooting his season. In the 11 games since being activated, Hanigan has gone 11-for-37 (.297) with two home runs and eight RBIs. He is riding a four-game hitting streak.
Hanigan was out from April 21 through May 9 with a strained left oblique and a sore right hand. While he's only batting .187 this season, it's an improvement from the .079 average he had when he went on the DL.
"You can't bring back what's already there. It's too late," Reds manager Dusty Baker said on Monday. "Can't live in it. Remember the Funkadelic song? Back in the day, I always think about this song called "Maggot Brain," that says you will rise above it all or you'll drown in your own [stuff]. That's what starting over is. You can drown in it, or wallow in it, it's still the same. You need to rise above it. It helps that Hani's hand is a little better."
Reds honor veterans on Memorial Day
CINCINNATI -- The Reds joined teams across baseball on Monday in a celebration of Memorial Day by wearing digital camouflage jerseys and hats to honor the men and women of America's armed forces.
"It's kind of the least we can do," right fielder Jay Bruce said. "We support the troops as much as we can and everyone who served and everyone who makes it possible for us to do this and make America as great as it is."
Pregame festivities were mostly dedicated to honoring people from different branches of the military.
Three members of the Tuskegee Airmen -- a group known for being the first African-American military pilots for the United States -- were recognized and received a standing ovation from the crowd at Great American Ball Park. Shortly after, U.S. Marine Gunnery SGT Samuel Deeds, who was injured by an improvised explosive device while serving in Iraq in 2005, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Following the national anthem, performed by U.S. Navy Second Class Petty Officer Nicholas Gagner, retired Lt. Col. Robert R. Adams delivered the game ball, and Marine Corps veteran Lincoln Ware joined manager Dusty Baker in exchanging lineup cards as Monday's honorary captain. As they've done in multiple games this season, the Reds also recognized a Hometown Hero in the middle of the second inning, with Monday's guest being U.S. Air Force Sr. Airman Nathan Reiser.
Men and women in military uniforms could be spotted throughout Great American Ball Park, and Bruce said he hoped the Reds could give them an enjoyable afternoon.
"Obviously, the team tries to do that for everyone," Bruce said. "But to be able to do it for them is very, very important to thank them for the things they have to go through in order to keep us safe."
• Monday was the fourth consecutive sellout at Great American Ball Park, marking just the second time the Reds have done that since 1970, the year they moved into Riverfront Stadium. The last such occasion came in June 2004, when Cincinnati hosted Texas (two games) and Pittsburgh (two games).
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.