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Reds option Bonilla, call prospect Hernandez

Mesoraco banged up on great play, but OK; Cozart scratched with sore wrist
MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- Before Sunday's series finale vs. the Cubs, the Reds optioned reliever Lisalverto Bonilla to Triple-A Louisville. Roster circumstances and a lack of arm availability made it possible for right-hander Ariel Hernandez to be called up from Double-A Pensacola.

Hernandez, 25, is the Reds' No. 23 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com and spent last season splitting time in Class A and Class A Advanced ball. Bonilla was called up on Tuesday to fortify the bullpen and pitched in one game, throwing five innings with four runs allowed in Saturday's 12-8 loss to the Cubs.

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CINCINNATI -- Before Sunday's series finale vs. the Cubs, the Reds optioned reliever Lisalverto Bonilla to Triple-A Louisville. Roster circumstances and a lack of arm availability made it possible for right-hander Ariel Hernandez to be called up from Double-A Pensacola.

Hernandez, 25, is the Reds' No. 23 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com and spent last season splitting time in Class A and Class A Advanced ball. Bonilla was called up on Tuesday to fortify the bullpen and pitched in one game, throwing five innings with four runs allowed in Saturday's 12-8 loss to the Cubs.

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"As quite often is the case when you have one of your relievers throw five innings in a game, it's typically the obvious choice to send him out," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "We wouldn't be able to use Bonilla for at least three games. We needed a fresh arm."

Price acknowledged that the organization had to bypass other options at Louisville because the pitchers on the 40-man roster -- such as Sal Romano or Barrett Astin -- had all pitched recently.

"The freshest arm is coming from Pensacola. We need fresh arms after using [Robert Stephenson] and Bonilla the last couple of days," Price said.

Hernandez was at big league camp in Spring Training, and in seven appearances for Pensacola he was 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA, four hits, four walks and 14 strikeouts over eight innings.

"Arm strength and breaking ball, just as we had seen in reports last year when he was pitching in [Class] A ball. It's a huge arm," Price said. "It's every bit of 95-100 mph with the hard power curveball. He's been throwing it over the plate, which has been the big challenge for a lot of hard-throwing young pitchers."

Price didn't expect Hernandez to have a long stay, especially as the club tries to figure out who will come out of the rotation once Rookie Davis comes off the disabled list.

"There's no negatives to Ariel coming up because it's good experience, just as it was for Astin and [Jesse Winker]," Price said. "Just to get a chance to get your feet wet and have some experience and be more familiar with it the next time up."

Mesoraco bangs knee

There is a strong chance that Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco (right hip and left shoulder surgeries) could be activated this week when his rehab assignment ends Tuesday at Pensacola. Whether he would be ready early for Monday's series opener at Milwaukee is murky.

On Thursday in a great play, Mesoraco was covering third base on a ball bunted into a double play and was spiked on the inside of his left knee.

"He got smoked in the knee. I don't believe it's serious at all," Price said. "He's a little banged up, but he caught the rest of that game and caught the next day. [Saturday] was an off-day and he was a little bit sore. I'm trying to find out how he's feeling this morning."

That means Mesoraco was not behind the plate to catch pitcher Tyler Mahle's 88-pitch perfect game at Mobile.

Cozart scratched

Shortstop Zack Cozart was scratched from Sunday's 7-5 win over the Cubs with a sore left wrist, but he said following the game that he will return to action Monday.

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, Lisalverto Bonilla, Zack Cozart, Ariel Hernandez, Devin Mesoraco