CINCINNATI (AP) Catcher Devin Mesoraco shagged flyballs in left field on Friday afternoon, trying to learn the intricacies a position he hasn't played since high school.
If all goes well, he'll be out there for the Cincinnati Reds in a couple of weeks.
Mesoraco went on the disabled list last month with a sore left hip that bothers him when he crouches but isn't a problem when he hits or runs. He's putting off surgery for now, hoping he can help a lineup that's missing its left fielder indefinitely. Marlon Byrd suffered a broken right wrist when he was hit by a pitch on Tuesday night in Philadelphia.
Mesoraco will practice taking flyballs from coach Billy Hatcher for a few days, then go to the minors and play left field and see how it works out.
''Once Marlon went down, I figured it would be good to see if this is something we could do,'' Mesoraco said. ''I need to go out there and play a little bit. When they deem me ready, put me out there and say, `Go get `em.'''
Mesoraco's hip has bothered him all season, relegating him mostly to pinch hitting and being a DH during interleague games. Doctors initially thought that the hip might heal if he stayed away from catching, but it still bothers him when he crouches so he'll have to have surgery. Mesoraco is batting .178 with no homers and two RBIs.
He had a breakout season last year, making the All-Star team for the first time. He joined Johnny Bench as the only players in Reds history to have at least 25 homers and 80 RBIs as a catcher. Mesoraco batted .273 with 25 homers and 80 RBIs.
Doctors have told him he can't injure the hip by playing, so he is putting off surgery for now.
''It's something you can't do any more damage to,'' Mesoraco said. ''The recovery from surgery is four to six months, so that's not going to come into play.''
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