Navarro relishing opportunity to be in pennant race

Navarro relishing opportunity to be in pennant race

Navarro relishing opportunity to be in pennant race
CINCINNATI -- With Devin Mesoraco's unexpected demotion to Triple-A, Reds backup catcher Dioner Navarro finds himself back in a pennant race again.

Navarro was called up Tuesday while Mesoraco served a two-game suspension. When the suspension was finished, it was Navarro who got to stay. He started behind the plate Saturday against the Cardinals, catching starter Mike Leake. Mesoraco exclusively caught starters Homer Bailey and Leake, but manager Dusty Baker isn't locked into the same plan with Navarro.

"I don't know. It's kind of what I see and if it's day after night and different stuff," Baker said. "Right now, everybody is dragging a little bit. I think I know what I have in Navarro, but I'm not really sure. This is a guy with a lot of experience. He's a guy that's caught some big-time quality pitchers in Tampa. They've been to the World Series and playoffs, All-Star Game, all kinds of stuff."

Primary catcher Ryan Hanigan has generally worked with Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos and Bronson Arroyo, and on Wednesday, he caught for Bailey, too.

"I don't know if Hani, physically, should catch four out of five days," Baker said.

The 28-year-old Navarro was signed last winter by Cincinnati and invited to Spring Training as a non-roster player. He batted .319 for Triple-A Louisville this season. In parts of the past two seasons with the Rays and Dodgers, he batted below .200.

"It's been a couple of rough two years for me," Navarro said. "I had an opportunity with this team to go down to Triple-A and play almost every day and produce how I think I am capable of. Now being up here, I'm trying to help this team get to the promised land. I'm really excited about this opportunity and will try to take full advantage of it."

In 2008, for the American League champion Rays, Navarro batted .295 and made the All-Star team.

Navarro, who started one game earlier this month while Mesoraco was on the seven-day disabled list for a concussion, hadn't worked with most of the Reds' staff since camp. He isn't concerned about being on the same page with the pitchers.

"You just have to get to know them a little better and click," he said. "Once you click with somebody, it's like riding a bike. It will stay there."