Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco ‘on track’ in rehab

Devin Mesoraco was missing something when the Reds reported to their Great American Ball Park clubhouse on Thursday after returning from their most recent road trip – and he didn’t mind a bit.

The Cincinnati catcher had shed the black plastic sling he’d been wearing since undergoing season-ending surgery on May 10 to repair the torn labrum in his left shoulder.

“Everything’s on track and going as a planned,” said Mesoraco, 28, who’s dealing with a season-ending surgery for the second consecutive season. “The sling was something that was a little annoying, but I got used to it.”

Mesoraco’s physical activities are limited to “still just range of motion and a little strengthening,” he said.

“There’s really nothing I can do this year,” he said. “I’ll probably be able to swing the bat by the end of the season. The main thing is to just take it easy. There’s no rush. We’ve got plenty of time. I just want to be as healthy as I can be.”

Mesoraco, who’s in the second year of a four-year, $28 million contract he signed in January 2015, played in just 23 games last season before undergoing surgery to repair a hip impingement. He appeared in 16 games this season before going on the disabled list.

There’s more than one upside to finally shedding the sling, the team’s 2007 first-round draft pick and 2014 National League All-Star said.

“I’m finally able to be in the dugout during the game,” he said. “I’ve been watching all the games and texting with the guys.”

Streak lived: A scoring change from Friday's 13-4 loss to San Diego allowed shortstop Zack Cozart to take an eight-game hitting streak into Saturday's game. Cozart originally had been credited with reaching first base on an error by Padres shortstop Alexei Ramirez.

Cozart’s streak was the longest active streak among the Reds, but the reprieve was temporary. He went 0-for-4 on Saturday to snap the streak.

Reds roots: Andy Green is San Diego's manager, but his roots run deep into Reds Country, which made him among the more interested observers of the weekend's 1976 Reds reunion and Pete Rose celebration.

Green, who turns 39 on July 7, is a Lexington, Ky., native who grew up traveling to Cincinnati to watch the Reds. He also played for Cincinnati’s Triple-A Louisville affiliate in 2008, so he was planning to soak in all he could from Saturday’s induction of Rose into the Reds Hall of Fame and Sunday’s retirement of his No. 14.

“It’s hard not being a Pete Rose fan when you grow up in this area,” Green said. “It’s going to be special to watch that happen on Saturday. I loved the Reds in general.”

This is the second consecutive season the first-year San Diego manager has been on hand to personally watch his hometown team honor one of its own. Last season as a coach with Arizona, Green was in attendance at the late-August tribute to Hall of Famer Tony Perez. The former infielder still remembers missing out on the opportunity to deliver the lineup card and shake the hand of one of his all-time favorites, Dave Concepcion, who delivered the card for the Reds.

“I was fighting for it because he was my favorite player in the early ‘80s so I wanted to be out there,” he said with a laugh. “They didn’t let me, though. Nobody can stop me this year, though.”