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Mesoraco red hot since returning from DL stint

CINCINNATI -- Considering that he missed the first week of a season that's barely two weeks old, it's impressive what Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco has done in a short period of time.

Mesoraco entered Wednesday the team leader in doubles (three) and RBIs (nine) and had three home runs. He's also collected hits in all six of his games played while batting .500 (11-for-22).

"He's just kept it going really nicely," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "I think the fact that he knows he's our No. 1 guy, there's a lot more responsibility there for him. He knows he's going to play. If he goes 0-for-4, he'll be back in there the next day. That certainly lends to some confidence."

Mesoraco, 25, moved up to the everyday catching job after two seasons of backing up Ryan Hanigan, who was traded in the offseason. He had nine homers and 42 RBIs over 103 games last season while batting .238.

"It's just an overall comfort level that's the biggest thing," Mesoraco said Wednesday. "I'm comfortable with being the everyday guy. I'm comfortable with Bryan as the manager. I'm comfortable with being in the clubhouse and being around the guys. That's been the biggest thing."

With a day game coming after both Tuesday's regularly scheduled night game and the three-inning conclusion of Monday's suspended game, Mesoraco did not start Wednesday against the Pirates. Brayan Pena caught instead.

A left oblique strain sustained near the end of Spring Training forced Mesoraco on the disabled list when the season opened and he missed six games.

"He's a tough guy. He's a young guy and working as hard as he can," Reds third baseman Todd Frazier said. "He knows he's our catcher. He understands, like I am, pitch selection. When he's getting his pitch, he's doing damage with it. Hopefully he can keep going."

Mesoraco isn't entirely pleased with his early start, preferring to be stronger behind the plate.

"I haven't been as good as what I feel like I can be defensively," said Mesoraco, who was 0-for-3 in catching basestealers. "My throws have not been too good. I missed a couple of balls on blocks [Tuesday]. I know I can do better than what I have. That's the more important thing for me, being a catcher. If I'm back there struggling, the team is going to struggle."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon.
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