Mesoraco holding off on hip surgery for now
Catcher limited to pinch-hitting duty with impingement
PITTSBURGH -- Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco is still unable to test his injured left hip by squatting, which continues to limit him to pinch-hitting duty. Mesoraco acknowledged on Tuesday that he will likely need surgery at some point to repair the impingement that gives him discomfort.
But not just yet. Mesoraco and the club are trying all possible avenues of treatment first.
"It's something that down the line, hopefully, is probably going to have to get fixed," Mesoraco said. "At this point, it's not an option because of how much of the season we have left. At some point, it's probably going to come into the picture."
If he had surgery, Mesoraco said, it would probably require a four-month recovery.
"We're trying to do everything we can to stop that from happening," he said. "We're trying to do the best we can to be able to finish the season before it's something that I do have to look at getting fixed."
Mesoraco, who has not started a game since April 11, has had platelet-rich plasma injections, lubricating injections and a cortisone shot so far. The Reds have avoided placing him on the disabled list because he is still able to hit and run the bases. The internal leg rotation from squatting is when he feels pain.
Mesoraco made his sixth pinch-hitting appearance since the injury during the ninth inning of Tuesday's 7-1 win over the Pirates, drawing a walk and scoring on Marlon Byrd's two-run double.
With the Reds playing the White Sox in Chicago for three games this weekend and games at American League parks in Kansas City and Cleveland later this month, Mesoraco could be used as the designated hitter by manager Bryan Price.
"Those are great opportunities for him to DH and get some at-bats and an even better test to see how he feels coming out of more regular playing time," Price said. "I'm looking forward to seeing how his body responds to actually getting four or five at-bats in a ballgame and seeing how he feels running the bases and things of that nature."
For National League parks, however, Price and the club have not explored trying Mesoraco at different positions, such as the outfield or first base.
"I don't know if it's something that could happen this year," Price said. "It might be a question that's more pertinent if we come to the conclusion that he can't catch for some reason with his injury, long term -- meaning this season. But we haven't gotten to that point."
Of course, the Reds have established players at other positions, namely Joey Votto at first base. If he is able to catch again this season, Mesoraco would likely have to be eased back into action after missing so much time. Brayan Pena has taken most of the catching duties and is backed up by Tucker Barnhart.
As for being a DH, Mesoraco looked forward to that possibility.
"This is definitely not easy sitting on the bench watching the guys and not being able to be out there and help them," Mesoraco said. "Hopefully this will give me a chance to get back in there."