Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco has been activated from the disabled list after being sidelined since the middle of spring training with an oblique injury.
Cincinnati traded Ryan Hanigan to the Rays this winter in large part because they wanted to clear the path for Mesoraco to take over as the starting catcher at age 25. Brayan Pena started four of the six games in his absence and fill-in backup Tucker Barnhart–great baseball name!–is heading back to Triple-A after starting twice.
This is a big season for Mesoraco. He was once a first-round pick and top prospect, but now he’s 25 years old and has hit just .225 with a .641 OPS through 175 career games.
While newly-acquired talent Danny Espinosa was off collecting hits for the Blue Jays against the Orioles, Marcus Stroman led a youth-filled roster against the Canadian Junior National Team in a split-squad game on Saturday. In the eighth inning, 17-year-old Canadian pitcher Braden Halladay took the mound to honor his late father’s memory against his former team.
Halladay accomplished just that, wielding a fastball that topped out in the low-80s and setting down a perfect 1-2-3 inning against the top of the lineup. No one batter saw more than a single pitch from the right-hander: Mc Gregory Contreras and Mattingly Romanin flew out to the outfield corners and Bo Bichette laid down a ground ball for an easy third out.
MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm has a fantastic profile of the high school junior, including his approach to the game and his attempt to do Roy Halladay proud while carving out his own path to the majors. “From a pitching standpoint, it was everything I could have asked for and more,” Halladay told reporters. “Especially now, every time I make mistakes, I still hear him drilling me about them in my head, just because he’s done it so many times before. From a mind-set standpoint, I don’t think with any bias that I could have had a better teacher.”