Mesoraco sits as Pena remains paired with Cueto

Mesoraco sits as Pena remains paired with Cueto

MIAMI -- The Reds' offense has been largely sputtering since the All-Star break and is missing three key players, but manager Bryan Price still decided again on Thursday to not start catcher Devin Mesoraco with ace Johnny Cueto pitching vs. the Marlins.

As he has most of the season when Cueto starts, Brayan Pena was behind the plate. Price likes having the tandem paired together.

"If you mean am I going to override the offense with starting pitching productivity, yeah I think so. I think I am," Price said. "I know that we've been struggling to score runs and Devin is on a nice little stretch right here, but I think I need to prioritize the starting pitching. It's a good relationship."

Besides Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips being on the disabled list, Jay Bruce is away on bereavement leave. Bruce is expected to return on Friday.

Mesoraco, who is 7-for-19 with two homers in his last five games, has caught for Cueto in four starts this season, with the last time coming on July 13 vs. the Pirates. Cueto is 3-1 with a 2.93 ERA over those four outings.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.