"Getting to nine innings is a lot closer, for sure," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Catching back-to-back is going to be big, as well and seeing how he comes out of that. Right now, it's just the durability. He's not coming out of any of these games feeling banged up, which is good."
On the 10-day disabled list, Mesoraco had left shoulder and right hip surgeries last year and has been working his way back. He's been setback-free to this point, but the club has been methodical with his rehab and hasn't rushed him back.
Mesoraco, who batted .235 in seven Spring Training games, is 2-for-6 in his two games for Pensacola.
"I'm getting a nice report from [Pensacola manager] Pat Kelly on his receiving and how he's moving behind the plate and how he's improving from one game to the next," Price said. "It was a very positive report."
Mesoraco's rehab assignment can run through April 25. It's possible he could return sooner once he catches nine innings three days in a row.
No worries about Votto
• Through his first five games, Joey Votto didn't draw a walk. His first occurred in his third plate appearance of Sunday's game. It's somewhat unusual for a player who has led the Majors in on-base percentage from his 2007 debut through the 2016 season. Votto entered Sunday batting .222.
"He's fine. I don't concern myself with him at this point," Price said. "You know how we talk about cycles. It starts hot for some, and starts cooler for others."
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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.