You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Surging Mesoraco ready for big second season

Forget the phrase “sophomore slump” when it comes to Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco. If anything, the organization might well be expecting a sophomore surge. It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for the former Pennsylvania high school player of the year.

Mesoraco has needed a longer learning curve at each level but has made a habit of showing noticeable improvement after getting acclimated to his surroundings.

After a rough year at Class A Sarasota in 2009, Mesoraco rebounded with big numbers in Lynchburg the following year. And although his first stint at Triple-A wasn’t memorable with Louisville, he followed that with an impressive campaign that saw him named an International League All-Star.

Last year, again, was a major struggle. Mesoraco hit .212 with the Reds and threw out less than one of every five runners who tried to steal. Making matters worse, he suffered a concussion in August, then was handed a two-game suspension for bumping an umpire.

But those counting out Mesoraco after last year’s rough go with the Reds beware: the former first-round pick is showing signs that he could be due to take yet another step.

“I think if you look back at some places it took a longer amount of time than others, but I’ve always had a little adjustment period,” Mesoraco said. “For me, it’s just a matter of feeling comfortable with my teammates, feeling comfortable with the level of competition. I realize I can do this, and then I go from there. And I do feel comfortable now.”

Heading into Saturday’s split-squad games, Mesoraco was leading the Reds in runs batted in this spring (10) and was in the midst of a seven-game hitting streak that pumped his batting average to .474.

And Mesoraco hasn’t just been better on offense. Last year, he struggled to handle the pitching staff, but manager Dusty Baker said he’s seen vast improvement in that area, too.

“He’s not only hitting the ball, he’s thrown well, he’s caught well. He’s really improved. Big time. He’s more confident. Devin, throughout his career, his second year at a level has always been better,” Baker said. “He wasn’t like Buster Posey, who went to college. He came out of high school. There’s a lot to learn, not only hitting, but catching, blocking, throwing, all kinds of stuff.”

Mesoraco now has plenty of experience with starters Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Homer Bailey and Bronson Arroyo, and that comfort level has translated to success in all aspects of his game. He’s hit a pair of home runs along with a pair of doubles, showing the kind of clout he displayed for Louisville in 2011 when he was fourth in the league in two-base hits.

“When you’re playing well, things happen a lot easier than when you’re struggling. For me, it’s all about defense. It always will be. That’s something I can do every day,” he said. “Hitting-wise you’re going to have tough days, you’re going to have some good days, but defensively you can be consistent, helping the pitchers out back there. That’s what I’m trying to do. I do feel defensively that’s where more strides have been made.”

Things have changed from a year ago, when many thought he might be ready for the everyday catching job. Expectations have eased, and Ryan Hanigan’s job as the starter has been cemented.

But Mesoraco is focused and should be ready if called upon. Although he’s still in a battle for the No. 2 catching post with Miguel Olivo, Mesoraco’s spring has put him in good position to retain the position.

“You’re only gonna get so many chances in this game. You need to take advantage. The game has a very short memory, and every chance I get I need to go out there like I’ve got to prove something today and do the best I can,” Mesoraco said.

“There’s always guys looking to take your job. I’m trying to stop that from happening.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

Bengals draft defensive end Willis in third round
Bengals draft defensive end Willis in third round

The Cincinnati Bengals continued their shopping spree for speed Friday night in the third round when they took Kansas State defensive end Jordan Willis, whose 4.53 40-yard dash at the Combine was the fastest of any defensive lineman. The pick comes after their first-round selection of wide receiver John Ross, who broke the Combine record with a 4.22...
Cincinnati Bengals stay true to themselves with choice of Joe Mixon
Cincinnati Bengals stay true to themselves with choice of Joe Mixon

Apparently the Cincinnati Bengals are determined to prove they can win without being great on defense. (We already knew they don’t care about bad press, but more on that later.) With their second pick of the 2017 draft, they chose another dynamic offensive player while continuing to wait to address a defense in need of an athleticism upgrade...
Bengals take a gamble on Oklahoma running back Mixon
Bengals take a gamble on Oklahoma running back Mixon

The Cincinnati Bengals gambled Friday night by trading down seven spots in the second round. Whether they won or lost depends on your view on the value of forgiveness, redemption and rehabilitation. Actually, whether they won or lost may not be known for many years, until Joe Mixon exits the NFL as a redeemed or repeat offender. The Bengals drafted...
H.S. Results for 4/28: Valentino perfect in win for Badin

Devon Valentino threw five innings of perfect baseball in Badin’s 14-0 win over Carroll on Friday. Valentino struck out three to earn the win. Offensively Badin racked up 14 hits, with Gavin Matthews and Zac Wilson each hitting a triple and Daunte DeCello doubling twice. Badin, at 10-11 overall, sits atop the Greater Catholic League Co-Ed Central...
Bengals draft defensive end in third round
Bengals draft defensive end in third round

After taking offensive players with their first two selections, the Cincinnati Bengals added some help to their pass rush by drafting Kansas State defensive end Jordan Willis in the third round with the 73rd overall pick. The 6-foot-4, 255-pound Willis was a second team All-American last year. He was a four-year letterwinner for the Wildcats, appearing...
More Stories