4/16/2014 12:42 P.M. ET
Mesoraco red hot since returning from DL stint
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- Considering that he missed the first week of a season that's barely two weeks old, it's impressive what Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco has done in a short period of time.
Mesoraco entered Wednesday the team leader in doubles (three) and RBIs (nine) and had three home runs. He's also collected hits in all six of his games played while batting .500 (11-for-22).
"He's just kept it going really nicely," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "I think the fact that he knows he's our No. 1 guy, there's a lot more responsibility there for him. He knows he's going to play. If he goes 0-for-4, he'll be back in there the next day. That certainly lends to some confidence."
Mesoraco, 25, moved up to the everyday catching job after two seasons of backing up Ryan Hanigan, who was traded in the offseason. He had nine homers and 42 RBIs over 103 games last season while batting .238.
"It's just an overall comfort level that's the biggest thing," Mesoraco said Wednesday. "I'm comfortable with being the everyday guy. I'm comfortable with Bryan as the manager. I'm comfortable with being in the clubhouse and being around the guys. That's been the biggest thing."
With a day game coming after both Tuesday's regularly scheduled night game and the three-inning conclusion of Monday's suspended game, Mesoraco did not start Wednesday against the Pirates. Brayan Pena caught instead.
A left oblique strain sustained near the end of Spring Training forced Mesoraco on the disabled list when the season opened and he missed six games.
"He's a tough guy. He's a young guy and working as hard as he can," Reds third baseman Todd Frazier said. "He knows he's our catcher. He understands, like I am, pitch selection. When he's getting his pitch, he's doing damage with it. Hopefully he can keep going."
Mesoraco isn't entirely pleased with his early start, preferring to be stronger behind the plate.
"I haven't been as good as what I feel like I can be defensively," said Mesoraco, who was 0-for-3 in catching basestealers. "My throws have not been too good. I missed a couple of balls on blocks [Tuesday]. I know I can do better than what I have. That's the more important thing for me, being a catcher. If I'm back there struggling, the team is going to struggle."
Chapman's second 'pen session comes Thursday
CINCINNATI -- Injured Reds closer Aroldis Chapman is scheduled to throw in his second bullpen session Thursday during a team off-day. Chapman, who is recovering from facial fractures suffered after being hit by a line drive last month, threw 25 pitches Monday in his first bullpen session.
"He's going to be on a roughly every third day throwing schedule," Reds manager Bryan Price said Wednesday. "He'll probably get a minimum three-to-four bullpens before he throws a live batting practice, which could take place by the end of the road trip if everything continues to go well."
Chapman, who will travel on the upcoming 10-game road trip with the club, still would need to undergo testing before he is cleared to being exposed to contact -- both from live BP and fielding drills. But his arm remains in good shape and his pitch counts will increase with each session.
"It's just getting his endurance. He was really shut down in all capacities," Price said. "He wasn't able to condition a great deal. Fortunately, he's able to go out and play catch and keep his arm in shape and built up his endurance from his running. He'll have to build up his endurance from throwing as well."
Marshall's first rehab outing goes smoothly
CINCINNATI -- In the first game of his rehab assignment for Triple-A Louisville on Tuesday, Reds lefty reliever Sean Marshall allowed one hit and one walk over a scoreless inning with two strikeouts. Marshall, who missed all Spring Training games because of a sore left shoulder, was scheduled to pitch again for Louisville against Indianapolis on Wednesday night.
Reds bullpen coach Mack Jenkins watched Marshall's 20-pitch outing on television.
"We get the video stream here in our video room so he was able to go back and watch the performance," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "It looked like he threw free and easy. There were no impediments to his delivery. He threw the ball very well, was very sharp with his breaking ball and fastball. So he's right on track."
To be determined is if Marshall will be activated from the disabled list after Wednesday's outing for the beginning of the 10-game road trip Friday, or if he will need more rehab appearances.
When Marshall does return, he will take some of the load off of lefty Manny Parra, who has pitched well since the season started.
"It's a huge boost," Price said. "Manny has kind of been our do-it-all guy so far. He leads our team in appearances. He's pitched the ninth inning. He's pitched the eighth inning. He's pitched multiple innings. And he's also our only left-hander. … It would be nice to give him a reprieve by having some support with Sean. Certainly, we know Sean is one of the better left-handed relief pitchers."
Broxton to close until Chapman returns
CINCINNATI -- It wasn't the cleanest of saves on Tuesday night for Reds interim closer Jonathan Broxton, but it was good to get the first one of the season and his first since Sept. 19, 2012. Broxton gave up a leadoff double and a two-out walk in the ninth inning and faced Andrew McCutchen representing the go-ahead run before locking down a 7-5 Reds win over the Pirates.
Broxton, who missed the first week of the season on the disabled list after having right forearm surgery in August, is filling in as closer until Aroldis Chapman can return from the DL.
"If you have somebody that's cemented into that role -- it doesn't mean he'll get every save opportunity -- but it does allow me to look at the game for eight innings," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "It gets convoluted when you're going to go 'OK, let's get to the ninth and see what's left and pick your option from that spot.'
"It's good to have Broxton back because it definitely settles some areas of our bullpen. It's one more pitcher closer to setting up our 'pen the way we want to."