CHICAGO -- It lined up just right for top Reds prospect Devin Mesoraco to get his first Major League start behind the plate on Monday, and he also will catch on Tuesday vs. the Cubs.
Reds manager Dusty Baker indicated that Mesoraco would get his first start with Dontrelle Willis pitching, since the two worked together often at Triple-A Louisville. Since being a September callup on Thursday, Mesoraco has been familiarizing himself with the pitching staff. He caught side bullpen sessions and watched games from the bench.
"There's a lot to catching," Baker said on Monday. "Knowing signs to the pitcher, signs with us -- pitchouts, throwovers, stepoffs, just different things. We let him sort of get his feet wet. It helps that he's caught Dontrelle. He'll catch [on Monday and Tuesday]. And he's caught [Mike] Leake down in Triple-A."
Mesoraco debuted on Saturday as a pinch-hitter, and hit a two-out double off the left-field wall in a win over the Cardinals.
Mesoraco went 0-for-4 on the afternoon during a 4-3 Reds loss to the Cubs on Monday. He did collect his first RBI, when Yonder Alonso scored on his groundout to the shortstop in the seventh inning. Defensively, there was a wild pitch that scored a run in the fifth that Mesoraco felt should have been ruled a passed ball.
"I felt OK. I wasn't nervous at all," Mesoraco said. "I felt good. Dontrelle is a guy I've worked with a lot. You know what he's going to do, so we had a good gameplan. He threw the ball well. We made some mistakes that one inning, myself included, and that's the way it goes sometimes."
While Mesoraco is expected to be part of the Reds' future, veterans Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan will still be in the mix the final month of the season.
"You just don't want to completely shelve Hanigan and Ramon," Baker said. "There are guys they've caught that have had success with them, too. Ramon has caught [Johnny] Cueto most of the time and Hanigan has caught Arroyo most of the time."