Mesoraco Figures to Add Catching Depth in Sep
As the Reds prepare to enter the pennant stretch for an NL Central Championship conversation has been started on who to add when the active roster expands in September. Though call-ups will likely be limited to immediate contributors, there is additional help available with MLB experience to join next month. Also, the timing of injury rehabs could give an additional boost.
One of the dates on every MLB management calendars each season is the end of August when rosters active rosters expand to forty. There are two strategies for the expansion call-ups. For teams without postseason hopes it is a time to audition prospects against big league competition to help in decision-making for next season. On teams still in the hunt to for a spot in the playoff they will likely limit additions to players who can help with their pennant stretch run. Since the Reds have a six game lead in their division they figure to fall into the latter category in 2012.
That’s good news because their AAA roster was wiped out after last season from trades and promotions. Even though they may be limited, every team will take advantage of the opportunity to a degree. Active rosters spots are just too valuable to pass up, especially in the modern day of baseball when pitchers occupy twelve of the twenty-five spots.
Here are the candidates:
Joey Votto (1b): This one is a given. The Reds slugger is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment at Dayton this week. He could return for the Houston series at the end of this month.
Devin Mesoraco (c): Mesoraco was recently sent down to Louisville after spending most of the season splitting time with Ryan Hanigan. Veteran Dioner Navarro led the Bats in most offensive categories this season and he’s already with the Reds while Mesoraco (.210 AVG) works on his swing in AAA. Everyone will look to add catching depth during the last month the season.
Logan Ondrusek (rp): Ondrusek got a surprise demotion to make room on the roster for Navarro when Mesoraco served a three game suspension earlier this month. He started the season out strong and has been an important part of the Reds bullpen while posting a 3.50 ERA.
Bill Bray and Nick Masset (rp): Masset has been a workhorse in the Reds pen since his arrival in 08 and the oft-injured Bray had his best season last year as a lefty specialist. Injury has robbed most of their seasons in 2012 and may prevent them from returning at all. Masset’s rehab is on hold pending the results of an MRI done this weekend. Even though the Cincinnati pen is deep, room could be made for either of these two veterans, health permitting.
Todd Redmond (sp): Redmond got his first MLB start during the nightcap of a double-header earlier this month and could get some more in September, especially if the Reds clinch early. The Opening day rotation has provided every other start this season and having someone else take some innings would be desirable. He could be an option to run out when it comes time to set the rotation for post season.
Felix Perez (of): Even though the outfield has solidified with the resurgence of Ryan Ludwick the Reds figure to add more depth behind Chris Heisey and Xaiver Paul. Perez had a slow start before going on the DL earlier this season and came back to raise his average to .299. Adjustments would be needed to make room for him on the 40-man roster, but his ability to play all three outfield positions would merit consideration.
Chris Valaika (if): Valaika has been an expansion call-up for the Reds over the past two seasons and has hit .270 in 63 AB at the MLB level. Even though he’s been injured for part of this season and is only hitting .231, the Reds figure to want to add depth in the middle infield and he is on the 40-man roster.
Having an extra body available for pinch-hitting or defensive substitution might come in handy. The Reds have the largest division lead right now but Pittsburgh is still hanging around and the Cardinals finished with a season-ending flurry last year that left them holding the Commissioner’s Trophy. A second wild card spot improves chances of post season. However, after a long awaited appearance in 2010 ended in a sweep, the Reds have ambitions of staying around longer this year. A division championship and wild card bye would definitely be the preferred route and game swung by a late inning hit or another arm available in the pen might come up big next month.
Other News from the Farm:
Louisville took a three run lead in the fifth and hung on for a 4-3 win at Toledo. The Bats’ runs were provided by two-run home runs by Didi Gregorius and Denis Phipps. Phipps had three hits and scored twice. Tim Gustafson had a nice start for the win. He allowed one run on three hits/two walks in six plus innings. Jordan Allowed a run in the ninth, but still qualified for the save.
Pensacola made up for Sunday’s rain-out by splitting a double-header at Mississippi 5-2 and 0-1. In the first game they hung four on the board in the sixth frame. Ryan LaMarre and Tucker Barnhart both went 1-2 with two walks. Tony Cingrani got no decision when he allowed two runs on two hits in four innings. He ran up his pitch count with six strikeouts and five walks. Michael Griffin tossed a scoreless fifth for the win and Justin Freeman kept the M-Braves scoreless over the final two frames for the save.
In the second game Chad Rogers allowed only one run in five innings, but that was enough to charge him with a loss. He allowed six hits/one walk while striking out three. Josh Fellhauer provided two of the Wahoo’s three hits.
Billy Hamilton Theft Watch:
In the first game Hamilton led off the fifth with a single and stole second base. He walked in the sixth inning and advanced to third on two wild pitches. He failed to reach base safely in the second game and his total is now up to 150 SB in 126 games.
Bakersfield fell behind early and never challenged in a 9-1 loss at Modesto. Theo Bowe had a couple of hits and is now batting .318 over his time with the Blaze this season. Josh Smith was roughed up for six runs and was lifted in the fifth before taking the loss.
Dayton allowed four in the sixth and lost 7-2 at home to West Michigan. Junior Arias and Yovan Gonzalez had two hits each for the Dragons and Travis Buckley added a solo home run in the ninth. Radhames Quezada allowed two runs in four innings for the loss.
Billings allowed three in the sixth inning to fall behind by four and eventually lost 7-5 at Ogden. Beau Amaral and Daniel Pigott had two hits apiece for the Mustangs and Robert Maddox had a solo home run. Jonathan Moscot got the start and allowed one run on one hit/one walk in three innings while striking out four. Jose Amezcua only allowed one walk in one inning, but that runner crossed the plate and hung the loss on him.
The AZL Reds scored a run in the bottom of the ninth to tie their home game against the AZL Dodgers and then lost 11-9 in the tenth. Wilfrel Estevez and Jose Ortiz had three hits each for the Reds while Jonathan Reynoso and Humberto Valor added two apiece. Estevez, Argenis Aldazoro, and Adam Matthews all homered. Nicholas Travieso got the start and was limited to three innings over which he allowed two runs on five hits. Vaughn Covington entered in the tenth and allowed the game-winner for his second loss.