-- Casey J., Seattle, Wash.
-- Alan C., Great Mills, Md. Shearn was removed from the 40-man big league roster, but was retained and invited to Spring Training as a non-roster player. It makes his odds a little bit longer, but, as I mentioned above, the Reds currently don't have enough healthy starters on that 40-man roster to fill out a rotation. Shearn was a neat story as a 30-year rookie in late August and September. He's not going to blow anyone away with his stuff, especially that 68-mph curveball, but his guile and ability to locate (not to mention great run support at times) helped him succeed. Do the Reds have a legitimate up and coming catching prospect in their organization?
-- Fred Y., Kettering, Ohio
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Catching is one position where many organizations are often thin on talent and prospects. The Reds have made efforts to beef up their depth there. Devin Mesoraco was their first-round Draft pick in 2007. Mesoraco batted only .219 in his first pro season at the Gulf Coast League but the organization was pleased with how he handled himself and got used to playing everyday for the first time while also being away from home for the first time. Another catcher that emerged was Craig Tatum, who reached Double-A last season. Tatum was rated as a good catch and throw guy but his bat came alive with a .320 average at Class A Sarasota before his promotion. He also was rewarded with some more exposure in the Arizona Fall League this year and performed well.After reading the Reds mailbag last time, I noticed the question where Edwin Encarnacion switched from No. 12 to No. 28 so Dusty Baker could have it. I don't really think that is fair because Encarnacion has been there longer, so why should he give it up to Baker?
-- Eric S., Pleasantville, Ohio Encarnacion made the gesture and offered the number to Baker, the skipper said during Redsfest. He did it out of respect for his new boss and because Baker has worn the number his entire career. I have a thing for uniform numbers too, and how they're assigned, but this really isn't a big deal. Do you think the Reds will put something on their jerseys to honor Joe Nuxhall next season?
-- Jeremy D., Blue Ash, Ohio This was asked a little while back, but the Reds revealed their plan for that honor at the recent Redsfest. All of the players' jerseys had a round black patch on the right sleeve that said "Nuxy" in white letters. Pending Major League Baseball's approval, the Reds will wear that patch through the 2008 season. With the Reds looking for a new Spring Training home, how does it affect the Sarasota Reds and the Florida State League?
-- John B., Port St. John, Fla. Since the Reds own their high Class A FSL affiliate, all indications are that the team would go wherever the organization goes -- assuming a suitable location and facility is found. The Reds' lease with Sarasota is up in October 2008, but three one-year club options could extend the stay through 2011.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.