CINCINNATI -- Reds lefty reliever Wandy Peralta struck out the side during his perfect ninth inning of Wednesday's 2-0 loss to the Orioles. Perfect, yes, but immaculate? No. Peralta needed 10 pitches for his three strikeouts, while teammate Drew Storen did the same thing in the minimum nine pitches on Tuesday.
"I wasn't thinking about it until the end of the inning," Peralta said via translator Julio Morillo on Thursday. "I said, 'Well, there's going to be another opportunity.'"
There very well could be the way Peralta has begun the 2017 season. He entered play Thursday night with a 1.42 ERA in seven appearances and has one earned run and one hit -- a homer -- plus two walks and 10 strikeouts. The 25-year-old has also thrown strikes 66 percent of the time, up from 56.4 during a brief stint last season.
Peralta struggled as a September callup in 2016, pitching to an 8.59 ERA and seven walks over 10 games and 7 1/3 innings.
"I am focused more on the mound," Peralta said. "I've been trying to work hard since the offseason on my pitches. I'm 100 percent focused on my pitches and what I want to do on the mound. I believe that I can do it. I've been working on my mechanics, trying to stay back, and everything right now is there."
According to Statcast™, Peralta has gotten 22 swinging strikeouts out of 88 pitches, a 25 percent rate that's good for second highest in the Major Leagues among pitchers that have at least 50 pitches thrown. Pedro Baez is tops with 28.3 percent.
"I've been focused most on my slider," Peralta said. "I'm going to face a lot of lefties, I know that. If my slider is good enough, I can get outs."
Sticking with Schebler
Among Reds regulars in the lineup, right fielder Scott Schebler is off to the slowest start. Schebler entered Thursday night with three homers but was batting .170/.278/.404 with 10 strikeouts in 47 at-bats. Reds manager Bryan Price has no thoughts of sitting him.
"I have no loss of confidence in Scott Schebler," Price said. "I think Scott Schebler can be a sensational player in this league. He has all the tools, all the physical tools to be an outstanding player."
Mesoraco's rehab assignment to continue
Following a day off Wednesday at Double-A Pensacola, it was decided that catcher Devin Mesoraco would remain on his rehab assignment. Mesoraco, who is working back from left shoulder and right hip surgeries, caught all nine innings in back-to-back games Monday and Tuesday.
The 20-day assignment must end by April 25. Mesoraco, who is batting .143 with a homer in eight games, could be activated from the disabled list and return to the big leagues during next week's road trip at Milwaukee (Monday-Wednesday) or St. Louis (April 28-30).
"We'll get through the weekend and reevaluate," Price said. "I think he's physically ready to come out now and play, but we want him to feel good behind the plate and at the plate. Those are the kind of the last pieces to this rehab assignment that we're looking to accomplish before we activate him."
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.