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Shoulder strain lands Mesoraco on DL

MLB.com @m_sheldon

DENVER -- Given Devin Mesoraco's injury history, including a surgically repaired left shoulder, the Reds didn't take it lightly when their catcher told them that same shoulder was hurting.

Mesoraco underwent an MRI and was diagnosed with a left shoulder strain that prompted the Reds to place him on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday. In 2016, he had surgery to repair a torn labrum in that shoulder. According to manager Bryan Price, the current injury and the former one aren't related.

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DENVER -- Given Devin Mesoraco's injury history, including a surgically repaired left shoulder, the Reds didn't take it lightly when their catcher told them that same shoulder was hurting.

Mesoraco underwent an MRI and was diagnosed with a left shoulder strain that prompted the Reds to place him on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday. In 2016, he had surgery to repair a torn labrum in that shoulder. According to manager Bryan Price, the current injury and the former one aren't related.

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"They did the full MRI and the scan and everything. That's good news," Price said. "Now we just have to see how quickly it heals and how quickly he'll be able to get back into full catching activity. It's a demanding position. There's just no way to not put Devin in an environment where he's not going to be really physical. We don't DH here. I'd like to have him back at full strength so he can both hit and catch. That's important."

No structural damage was found during the MRI, but the anti-inflammatory medicine did not help lessen the soreness. The DL move is retroactive to Monday, but it wasn't immediately known how long Mesoraco would be out. Price didn't believe it would be a long-term injury.

The bad news, however, is that Mesoraco was injured doing something usually rather benign among the demands of his position: catching a baseball.

"There were a couple balls to his backhand where he had to really extend to receive the pitch," Price said. "It seems like it really got activated and aggravated it. It didn't seem like at the time it was a big deal, but it did progressively get a bit worse."

Reliever Ariel Hernandez was recalled from Triple-A Louisville to take Mesoraco's place on the roster. Cincinnati will continue to have Tucker Barnhart with Stuart Turner backing up.

Video: CIN@MIL: Hernandez strikes out five over 2 2/3 frames

Cincinnati had a four-man bench and nine-man bullpen for Wednesday's game vs. the Rockies. After starting pitcher Sal Romano is recalled to pitch Thursday, the club likely will keep an eight-man bullpen through the remaining games before the All-Star break.

Mesoraco has been injury-plagued since his All-Star 2014 season; he has been limited to 79 games over the past three seasons because of surgeries to the shoulder and both hips.

In 40 games this season, Mesoraco is batting .234/.333/.459 with six home runs and 14 RBIs while splitting primary catching duties with Barnhart. He didn't rejoin the club until April 27 after spending Spring Training and a Minor League rehab assignment working to return from injury.

Romano ready

Video: MIL@CIN: Romano fans his first batter in debut

Romano arrived to the visitors' clubhouse Wednesday afternoon and was looking forward to his first big league start since his debut on April 16. That three-inning start didn't go well, as the right-hander struggled with command and threw 82 pitches while often throwing 97-98 mph -- higher velocity than he usually displays.

"I think I'm a lot more relaxed and not as nervous. I want to feel like I belong," Romano said. "I'm not going to try to overthrow tomorrow. I will work my 93-95; that's when my sinker is at its best. I still have 96, 97 and 98 in the tank, and there are certain times I can use that. I'm definitely going to be more relaxed, confident and hopefully give the team a chance to win tomorrow."

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, Ariel Hernandez, Devin Mesoraco