Mike Leake had several problems pitching against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night.
His neck wasn’t one of them.
Leake had been plagued by stiffness in his neck in his three starts that preceded Tuesday’s outing, including Cincinnati’s 6-1 loss to San Francisco on June 5 in which he lasted a season-low five innings while giving up a season-high five runs. Leake’s neck wasn’t an issue against the Dodgers on Tuesday, manager Bryan Price said before Wednesday’s game.
“He’s had a knot back there and it’s been more challenging to get it out of there completely,” Price said. “I don’t think it was an issue (Tuesday). You’d probably have to ask him directly, but it hasn’t been a talking point for the last few days.”
Leake, hustling out for batting practice, confirmed he had no problems with his neck.
Devin’s day off: Catcher Devin Mesorco’s day off Wednesday had nothing to do with the little visit paid by Price and trainer Paul Lessard to him after his seventh-inning single Tuesday.
“I think it was coming back to the base and he had a little bit of discomfort,” Price said. “They checked him and all the stuff they did with him and he was fine. He had a little bit of a tweak.”
The visit was not related to the hamsting problem that forced Mesoraco to the disabled list from April 26 to May 15.
“That was my concern, that maybe he had reaggravated his hamstring and that certainly could have been a huge setback, but I think we’re confident that it’s not going to be a big issue,” Price said.
Mesoraco was not in Wednesday’s lineup because Brayan Pena usually catches starting pitcher Johnny Cueto.
Speaking of …: Price gave no thought to perhaps starting the right-handed hitting Mesoraco in Pena’s place with left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu starting for the Dodgers. Pena is a switch-hitter, and Mesoraco has been slumping. He snapped a career-worst 0-for-19 stretch with a 2-for-4 night on Tuesday, his first hits since homering in the first inning of the first game of the homestand on June 3 against the Giants.
Price’s primary concern was keeping Cueto in a comfort zone.
“The temptation is to keep getting really good results from Johnny as far as how he pitches,” Price said. “We’re going to have to collectively be better offensively. Devin hasn’t been swinging the bat great lately, you know? That’s part of baseball. He had an unbelievable first 100 at bats or 80 at bats, and then he’s done what most people do. You hit a little ebb in the production, and then he’ll come back and he’ll be a great offensive force for us.”