Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco happy to be healthy again

Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco plays against the Pirates on Tuesday, May 2, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff
Caption
Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco plays against the Pirates on Tuesday, May 2, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Cincinnati Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco took the next step toward normal Wednesday, hitting his first home run of the season and his first since Sept. 23, 2014, his last full healthy season.

Mesoraco was back in the lineup Friday in the series opener against the San Francisco Giants for his third start in the last four games. After appearing in a total of 39 games in 2015 and 2016, Mesoraco is enjoying every moment on the field.

“I really feel this is the first time I’ve been healthy here, even though I’ve played a limited amount the last couple of years,” Mesoraco said. “I don’t have to worry about being healthy or anything. I can just go out there and play ball. It’s definitely a good feeling. There was never any question of whether I would get back. I wasn’t worried about hitting another home run because I knew at some point I would, but it definitely feels good.”

Cingrani update: Reliever Tony Cingrani has resumed throwing, but he's not ready to pitch off a mound yet. He has been on the disabled list since April 21 with a strained right oblique.

“We really want to focus on making sure the soreness is gone,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “It’s a challenging injury to deal with. The last thing we want to do is have it come back.”

Series history: The Reds are 36-24 against the Giants since 2008. No opponent has a better winning percentage against the Giants in that time. That includes the five games in the National League Division Series in 2012 when the Giants rallied from a 2-0 series deficit to beat the Reds in five games.

Weekend highlights: The first 20,000 fans at the game Saturday receive a Reds Star Wars T-shirt. On Sunday, the Reds will give Billy Hamilton Fathead wall decals to kids 14 and younger.

Power display: The Reds are one of three teams with three players who have hit at least eight home runs. Entering the weekend, Joey Votto had nine, and Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler each had eight.

Hot bats: Arismendy Alcantara has singled four times and tripled once in his last five at-bats. He has appeared in 18 games and is hitting .333 (8-for-24). … Votto is hitting .345 in his last 16 games. His average has jumped from .178 to .270 in that span.

Saturday's game: Amir Garrett (2-2, 4.50 ERA) starts for the Reds in a 7:10 p.m. Saturday game against Giants left-hander Ty Blach (0-1, 2.55). It will be the sixth start of the season for Garrett, who is most effective when he's keeping pitches down in the strike zone. He allowed two earned runs on two hits in seven innings in his last start against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday.

“When you’re a left-handed starter, quite often you’re going to face a stacked right-handed hitting lineup,” Price said. “When that happens, if you can hit that down-and-away corner when you need to, that’s a blessing. If that pitch is up and away, it’s a possible double or triple waiting to happen.”