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Arroyo, Mesoraco get their first spring action

MLB.com @m_sheldon

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- A Reds morning intrasquad game on a practice field rarely would be all that interesting, but the one the club held on Tuesday was an important step for two players who participated.

Bronson Arroyo pitched his first competitive inning of the spring and catcher Devin Mesoraco was behind the plate in his first game action. Both are trying to make comebacks of a different variety.

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- A Reds morning intrasquad game on a practice field rarely would be all that interesting, but the one the club held on Tuesday was an important step for two players who participated.

Bronson Arroyo pitched his first competitive inning of the spring and catcher Devin Mesoraco was behind the plate in his first game action. Both are trying to make comebacks of a different variety.

View Full Game Coverage

"It was good," Mesoraco said. "I felt like I hadn't caught in a long time, that's for sure. But Bronson was great. Bronson was the same as he always is. He's fun to be back there working with again. I'm glad he's around."

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The 40-year-old Arroyo, a non-roster invite trying to come back from two years out of the big leagues, missed about a week with a stomach virus and has been playing catch-up. On Tuesday, he threw one inning with one run and two hits allowed and one strikeout while throwing 15 pitches, including 10 for strikes.

"It was nice to get out there today, because actually throwing against your own hitters is probably a half-step up," Arroyo said. "To take a half-step against our own hitters knowing you only have one inning, it gives me an opportunity to feel a little more comfortable out there the next time. Hopefully, you can get out there with two innings and less than 30 pitches and see how you feel."

Arroyo's competition were hitters from the Minor League camp, with top prospect Nick Senzel having the distinction of being born just a couple of weeks after Arroyo was selected by the Pirates in the 1995 Draft.

A radar gun showed Arroyo's velocity often at 83 mph. He hopes to be sitting between 83-86 mph as he gets more stretched out, but he was pleased with his brief outing

"Just the fact that I know my arm could have withstood another inning," said Arroyo, who had elbow and shoulder surgeries in 2014. "Last spring, when I got up to two innings, I was in some severe pain. Just knowing that my body is feeling good enough to throw the ball all out and is not breaking down on me is a good thing. Just getting the ball over the plate. That's the biggest thing."

Video: Mesoraco takes live batting practice

Mesoraco took one at-bat and struck out against pitcher Rookie Davis. Mesoraco is coming back from left shoulder and right hip surgeries last year. He underwent a left hip procedure in 2015.

"Baseball-wise, I felt off, which is probably to be expected," Mesoraco said. "Health-wise, I felt perfectly fine. I felt very normal. I felt like I could get into position and do everything. It felt really good."

The next step for both players is to get into Cactus League games. Arroyo will be slotted for a two-inning start for his next turn. Reds manager Bryan Price anticipated that Mesoraco could tentatively be in a lineup by Sunday.

"Then it's building up the repetitions, building up the volume to be able to catch a few innings," Mesoraco said. "Then, I should be good to go. I don't feel like there is anything I have to do or I am worried about."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Bronson Arroyo, Devin Mesoraco