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5/19/2014 6:45 P.M. ET

Mesoraco moves to cleanup spot

WASHINGTON -- Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco hit cleanup for the first time in his career in Monday's series opener with the Nationals.

The catcher's been sizzling lately and came into the game with a .500 average in his 15 games. He's had four homers and 17 RBIs and was 5-for-7 on the road trip entering Monday.

Mesoraco's had only 54 at-bats thanks to two trips to the disabled list, but he's banged out 27 hits to give him that .500 average.

"He's our hottest guy," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "These are not base hits that he's just feathering in front of an outfielder. He's driving the ball. He's hitting the ball hard."

Mesoraco said batting fourth is just hitting in a different spot. His goal remains the same each time at the plate.

"It doesn't really change anything for me," Mesoraco said. "I'm going to go out there and try to have good at-bats, try to be productive at the plate and hopefully I can [get] some opportunities to drive guys in."

Votto remains out, but making progress with quad

WASHINGTON -- The Joey Votto situation remains up in the air.

Reds manager Bryan Price said that Votto was out of the lineup for a fourth straight game Monday -- leaving the team one man short -- as the first baseman remained back in Cincinnati getting treatment on his left knee (distal quadriceps strain).

Price said, however, that the team isn't ready to make a decision about putting Votto on the disabled list and is all right playing one man short, for now.

"We haven't made a decision, still got really good positive stuff coming out from his rehab and he's gotten a lot of the soreness out of his knees, working diligently on his strengthening," Price said. "So we're not yet ready or don't feel necessary that we make a decision right now. It really is a day to day, kind of pending situation."

The situation where the club remains one man short also becomes a day to day thing, according to Price. He said that the Reds will have enough coverage as long as they stay healthy.

As for the future, though, they'll just have to see what happens.

"Certainly we'd like to have a full bench, a full arsenal," Price said. "But at this point in time, we don't feel it's necessary to make that decision. But there could be a point where we have a tough decision."

Ludwick gets a break in opener

WASHINGTON -- Ryan Ludwick was held out of the starting lineup Monday as Reds manager Bryan Price said he wanted to give the left fielder a breather.

Ludwick leads the team with 35 starts in left field, and Price said he's got other options, making this a good time to let the outfielder sit for a day.

"I've been running him pretty hard," Price said. "We have [others], we've got guys here that I'd like to get in there. He'll be right back in there [Tuesday]."

Ludwick has struggled on the trip, going just 1-for-10 with one RBI. He's still hitting .321 with runners in scoring position.

Chris Heisey got the start in left. He was hitting .217 with one homer and five RBIs entering the game.

Worth noting

• According to the Elias Sports Bureau, right-hander Johnny Cueto, set to start Tuesday night, is the first pitcher in Major League history since 1900 to throw at least seven innings while giving up five hits or fewer in each of his first nine appearances of the season.

• The Reds entered Monday with the best fielding percentage in Major League Baseball (.992). In addition, their 13 errors were the fewest in that department.

• The search for offense continues on this road trip. Cincinnati was hitting just .182 on the trip entering Monday -- going only .120 with runners in scoring position (3-for-25 with 15 left on base).

Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.