Mesoraco swinging again

I’ve got some morning items for you. I won’t be covering the game vs. the A’s and hanging back to watch Johnny Cueto pitch in a Minor League game here in Goodyear this afternoon.

UPDATE – Cueto to get five innings/80 pitches today for Class A Bakersfield vs. the Indians’ high-A club.

*Catcher Devin Mesoraco (strained left oblique) took 50 swings this morning and felt OK.

“Thirty off the tee and 20 from soft toss,” said Mesoraco, who strained his oblique on March 19. “I want to say I was swinging around 75 percent of what I normally do. It’s probably better than the 120 percent I usually swing. Everything felt good. I think it was a good step. I want to say there’s still a little bit of tiredness or weakness in that area but it’s not as isolated as what it was and it’s definitely not a pulling or pain thing. We’ve been working it pretty hard so it’s a little worn out.”

Mesoraco took 30 swings on Monday and feels he’s progressing. It’s not clear yet if he can avoid the DL to begin the season. He hasn’t played a game since March 17.

“We’re getting down to it here and we’re pretty close. We’ll see,” Mesoraco said. “It’s going to be close either way. It’s getting better. That’s all I’m concerned with right now. It’s a lot of steps in the right direction.”

*Manager Bryan Price said that if Mesoraco gets into games this week, they would be on the Minor League side. That could mean he won’t play the Reds exhibition games at Pensacola and Louisville on Friday and Saturday and could hang back here in Arizona to get at-bats. If Mesoraco had to begin on the DL, Price said that Tucker Barnhart would be a possibility to be called up. Barnhart is on the 40-man roster and Corky Miller is not.

*Price threw out the possibility that Alfredo Simon could be a bullpen option instead of the fifth starter. Brett Marshall could be the fifth man, especially since he’s on the roster. Jeff Francis is a non-roster pitcher but has the experience. Francis is starting vs. Oakland today.

*Ramon Santiago, normally an infielder, played left field in the game vs. Cleveland yesterday.

“The last time he played was in winter league in the Dominican,” Price said. “It’s been a while. But again, his job as a utility player is to be able to give us options. He’s a good athlete. He’s got good hand-eye coordination. He throws well enough. He’s just a baseball player. I just thought it made sense to get him out there for a game or two to make sure that he’s somewhat comfortable out there if we get to that point.”

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