GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — Devin Mesoraco played in his first game since hip surgery last June and homered in his only at-bat, leading the Cincinnati Reds to an 8-6 win over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday.
Mesoraco hit one of three Reds homers off Danny Salazar. The catcher also caught Mike Napoli trying to steal during his two innings behind the plate.
“(Mesoraco) saw a lot of action back there in two innings,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “It was exciting. It was fun for all of us.”
Mesoraco caught just six games last season because of a hip impingement. He had been looking forward to getting behind the plate in a game for the first time.
“It was good to get back out there,” Mesoraco said. “There were a lot of balls in the dirt. It is going to be a process. The hardest thing will be to build up innings behind the plate. I can make up at-bats in minor league games.”
Jay Bruce and Scott Schebler — one of several candidates for the left field job — also homered off Salazar, who gave up five hits and five runs in four innings. Joey Votto raised a welt on Salazar’s left wrist with a line drive in the fourth inning, and Schebler followed with his third homer.
“It was good to see him stay out there and finish,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of Salazar. “It hit him pretty hard.”
“I tried to catch it, but it didn’t give me time,” Salazar said. “I’m glad it was my left wrist.”
Jason Kipnis hit a three-run homer off Robert Stephenson, who will likely start the season in Triple-A. Carlos Santana, who was sent home with a respiratory illness on Wednesday, hit a double. It was Kipnis’ second home run in two days.
“You’re starting to see guys get their timing, the more they play back-to-back games,” Francona said.
The Reds signed Alfredo Simon to pitch in the starting rotation. Stephenson, the Reds’ first pick in the 2011 draft, has only had a half season at Triple-A. He gave up all six of the Indians’ runs, five of them earned.
Billy Hamilton split DH with Brandon Phillips and tripled. Hamilton is recovering from shoulder surgery.
Indians: Salazar got his work in but wasn’t sharp with his control. “Bruce hit a good pitch,” he said. “He was sitting on a fastball.”
Reds: Stephenson has only had 11 Triple-A starts with a 4-4 record and a 4.04 ERA. “When Stephenson struggles, it’s because of the inability to command the bottom half of the strike zone,” Price said.
Indians: OF Michael Brantley (shoulder) played four innings in a minor league intrasquad game Thursday. … OF Lonnie Chisenhall experienced tightness in his right forearm. He is expected to resume playing this weekend. … OF Michael Choice was out with an illness.
Reds: RHP Michael Lorenzen sprained a ligament in his pitching elbow. He was examined Thursday by Dr. Timothy Kremchek. Lorenzen is prohibited from throwing until he is re-examined in a couple weeks. … RHP Jon Moscot was scratched from his start Wednesday with soreness in his right rib cage. “It will take a few days to get the soreness out,” Price said. “He should make his next start.”
Indians: RHP Josh Tomlin will pitch against Oakland.
Reds: RHP Anthony DeSclafani will face Milwaukee.