Mesoraco to play LF on rehab assignment

Hip injury prevents Reds catcher from squatting behind the plate

Mesoraco to play LF on rehab assignment

CINCINNATI -- Devin Mesoraco is expected to begin a rehabilitation assignment as a left fielder with Triple-A Louisville on Monday at Columbus.

Reds manager Bryan Price expects Mesoraco -- who has been a catcher throughout his big league career -- to play in a minimum of three or four games with Louisville.

"I've gotten great reports from [coaches] Billy Hatcher and Jim Riggleman on how Devin's been handling this transition," Price said. "Really good reports from [head trainer] Paul Lessard on how he is feeling physically, and from speaking with Devin, he feels like he's ready. So at this point in time I think the game situations, game environment is going to be … the finishing touches to his preparation to rejoin the club and start to play some outfield for us."

Price announced earlier last week that the club would explore the option of playing Mesoraco in left field after Marlon Byrd was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured right wrist.

Mesoraco has dealt with a left hip impingement for most of the season and has appeared in only 23 games, but he hasn't played catcher since April 12. The injury has kept him from being able to get into the squatting position behind the plate, limiting him to being used only as a pinch-hitter and, when possible, designated hitter since suffering the injury.

Mesoraco, who began working with Hatcher on Friday, said overall it has been an easy transition.

"It's been good," Mesoraco said on Sunday morning. "A lot of running around, more than I'm used to, but other than that it's been fine."

Mesoraco also reaffirmed that his hip feels good when he is playing in the outfield and only bugs him when he squats into the catcher's position. Price also said after a second opinion from Dr. Brian Kelly that it is possible Mesoraco might not need hip surgery after all.

"I'm just excited to get back in it and play some ball, that's it," Mesoraco said. "I haven't really done anything this year to help the team, and a couple weeks ago looking at the prospect of potentially having surgery, I would have missed a whole summer of baseball, which is something that I haven't done in 15 years. I get to get back out there and play a little bit and see what happens, so I'm definitely excited about that."

Robert Bondy is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.