2013 Reds

Free Devin, Heal Ryan

John Fay reported yesterday that catcher Ryan Hanigan is suffering from a sore thumb. That condition might partially explain the catcher’s slow start at the plate. Hanigan (32) is hitting .086/.195/.086, with two RBI. He has three hits, all singles, although he has hit a few deep fly outs in his past few AB. Hanigan’s career numbers are .269/.364/.351. 

Devin Mesoraco (24) has played the past two games, hitting .235/.391/.412 this season in 23 plate appearances. He has four hits, three of which were doubles, and five walks to go with one sacrifice fly. He has four RBI and has hit the ball right on the nose the past two days.

Much was made of the strong spring training Mesoraco had at .326/.420/.535. It should be noted that Ryan Hanigan also had an excellent month in Goodyear, with a .321/.367/.536 performance. 

Manager Dusty Baker, who has been less-than-clear about his intention for the catching rotation this year, further confused the situation with comments to Fay yesterday. 

“Ideally, I’d like to catch who I think can help us that night,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “I don’t like to sit either one them two or three days. Ideally, you’d like a Yadier Molina. That’s why he’s the best in the game.”

It seems on one hand Baker says he doesn’t like either of his catchers sitting out for several days, but on the other hand saying he prefers a catcher (like Molina) who plays almost every night. He also implies that Molina is the best in the game because he plays every night. The reverse is probably more likely: that Molina plays every night because he’s the best in the game.

Baker described Hanigan’s injury and implied Hanigan would be back in tonight’s lineup, catching Mat Latos.

“It’s a good thing for him to be off two days,” Baker said. “That’s a tough thing to deal with, especially the left thumb. Balls run in on you, sink on you, hit that thumb. You can’t catch every ball perfectly. He’s injured but not hurt.”

Again, I think Baker probably meant the reverse – that Hanigan is hurt, but not injured. It’s a pain tolerance question.

Either way, with Mesoraco really dialed in at the plate the last few games, you’d like to see the Reds give Hanigan enough time off to let his thumb heal. No sense in rushing him back when there is a perfectly viable alternative. Certainly a situation worth watching.

 

27 thoughts on “Free Devin, Heal Ryan

  1. Meso’s .235 is a surprise. I hadn’t looked at his batting average, obviously. Seems like he’s getting hits much more often.

    • @TC:

      Even when Mesoraco has made outs, they have been loud outs. He crushed a ball that went through the shortstops legs. If you just listened to the sound off the bat, you would have said it was a 450 foot home run. The ball was a laser. The guy is barreling everything it seems.

    • @TC: He was briefly hitting .308 during Wednesday’s game (4/13).

      He has gone hitless in his last 4 ABs, with 1 sac fly + 1 BB.

      Get this man more ABs!

  2. Steve – That’s one possible interpretation of Dusty’s comment, but that’s not how I took it. You’d love Yadier Molina because he’s really strong offensively and defensively, where as we have a stronger defensive catcher who’s okay on offense and one with tremendous offensive promise who is not as strong defensively. That means you have to make a choice between offense and defense every night, where as with Yadi there would be no decision.

  3. Dusty is incoherent as always.

    Hint: Dusty, one of these guys has the potential to be a Yadier Molina, one doesn’t. Yadier Molina didn’t come to the majors as the best catcher in the league. He got called up in June of 2004, and then played every day. He was actually pretty dreadful offensively for the first half of his career.

    I think Hanigan hurt his thumb after his slump started. I seem to remember him taking a foul ball late one game. He was already stinking up the place offensively.

    • @CP: I figure I’d be the same way if I was the manager. How do you say something without saying anything? Some people are masters at it (i.e. politicians) others like Dusty and myself are not.

      You gotta play them one day at a time. I’m just happy to be here, and I hope I can help the ball club. I just wanna give it my best shot and good Lord willing, things will work out.

        • @TC: You obviously listened to Crash’s lesson on giving interviews. Yogi Berra is a master at saying a lot of things that mean absolutely nothing. He’s entertaining to boot!

      • @TC: There is an art to it. I think media types usually like Dusty because he gives folksy answers that they can rile up the fan base with. Which is why Fay & Sheldon don’t ever mess with their quote machine.

    • I think Hanigan hurt his thumb after his slump started.I seem to remember him taking a foul ball late one game.He was already stinking up the place offensively.

      Yep, Hanigan got into a slump when he was healthy but lately it seems like the recent thumb injury has been used as an explanation for his struggles.

  4. Hanigan is back in the lineup, and so is Chris Heisey vs a RHP.

    1. Shin-Soo Choo (L) CF
    2. Zack Cozart (R) SS
    3. Joey Votto (L) 1B
    4. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
    5. Jay Bruce (L) RF
    6. Todd Frazier (R) 3B
    7. Chris Heisey (R) LF
    8. Ryan Hanigan (R) C
    9. Mat Latos (R) P

  5. I think Dusty is trying to say that he would ideally like to use his judgment and play the catcher who has the hot hand, or who has the best matchup against a certain pitcher, i.e. whoever gives the Reds the best chance to win that night.

    Which theoretically makes sense, but looks to be a practical nightmare for Dusty (and Reds fans).

  6. Devin finally makes back-to-back starts this year. Result? The Reds win both with a combined 22-3 score including 19 Ks and 3 BB.

    Ryan Hanigan is hurt. Hanigan has a .281 OPS, Mesoraco’s is .803…. so of course lets put Hanigan right back in!

  7. Also, why did Heisey enter the game for Paul last night? And why is Heisey starting today over Paul/Robinson? Heisey should start games against LHP only at this point

    • @CincyGuy: I believe it was a double switch… Heisey came in to hit for Cingrani and then stayed in the game, as it was the 5th inning. Dusty loves him some double switches… but I could be wrong.

  8. I don’t understand Dusty. Thought for sure Paul would be in lineup. Choo, Phillips and Frazier have compensated well for the power outage of Bruce, Votto and left field. Heisey’s approach at plate must change – and he has even been beaten inside.

  9. Dusty considers Heisey his first option in LF. I don’t think it’s really a matter of platoon splits or anything of that sort. It’s more a matter of he was their 4th OF going into the season and when Ludwick got hurt, he is basically the defacto starter. So many fans have been screaming for Heisey to get a chance and to “Free Heisey” (kind of like with Mesoraco now). Well, Dusty is giving him the most playing time right now. This is his chance. So far it hasn’t been so good but seriously folks, we are less than 1 month into the season and more than a few of the “Free Heisey” crowd are already wanting him back on the bench.

    • So far it hasn’t been so good but seriously folks, we are less than 1 month into the season and more than a few of the “Free Heisey” crowd are already wanting him back on the bench.

      This sounds like Dusty Baker. Look, lots of people say lots of things. Some of them are contradictory. That doesn’t mean that all people are inconsistent and self-contradictory, all the time. That’s how Dusty sees it – “well people wanted Gomes, and now they want Dickerson, then they’ll want some other guy.”

      The “Free Heisey” group may be be hypocrites, or maybe they’re just being quiet right now, because (1) their guy is free; and (2) he’s stinking. Maybe the “Free X.Paul” guys jumped off the Heisey bandwagon, or maybe they’re different guys entirely — guys who were content with Ryan Ludwick, or who never expressed an opinion on a left fielder before.

      It’s a big world out there.

      • @Chris Garber: Many, many good points there. My main point is it seems right now Heisey is the guy. If he is “the guy”, he’s going to need more time to show if he should or shouldn’t be “the guy” than 2 weeks. Maybe the answer should have been a platoon but that’s not what happened. Maybe after 2-3 more weeks of him not hitting Dusty will determine that he clearly isn’t “the guy” and go with something else. Of course Dusty has shown extreme patience with other players so he may stick with Heisey beyond all logic and explanation.

        • @Chris Garber: Many, many good points there. My main point is it seems right now Heisey is the guy. If he is “the guy”, he’s going to need more time to show if he should or shouldn’t be “the guy” than 2 weeks. Maybe the answer should have been a platoon but that’s not what happened. Maybe after 2-3 more weeks of him not hitting Dusty will determine that he clearly isn’t “the guy” and go with something else. Of course Dusty has shown extreme patience with other players so he may stick with Heisey beyond all logic and explanation.

          @LWBlogger: I think RWBlogger has correctly called it here. Heisey will not get the long trial of other prospects, however. Anyone who knows Heisey’s full story should find it easy to cheer for him even when he looks awful at the plate and even if he isn’t from your hometown.

    • @LWBlogger:

      Dusty considers Heisey his first option in LF. I don’t think it’s really a matter of platoon splits or anything of that sort. It’s more a matter of he was their 4th OF going into the season and when Ludwick got hurt, he is basically the defacto starter. So many fans have been screaming for Heisey to get a chance and to “Free Heisey” (kind of like with Mesoraco now). Well, Dusty is giving him the most playing time right now. This is his chance. So far it hasn’t been so good but seriously folks, we are less than 1 month into the season and more than a few of the “Free Heisey” crowd are already wanting him back on the bench.

      Dusty said “it’s Heisey’s turn”…how long that turn will last, who knows? But he said it publicly, so don’t expect anything different, at least for awhile. You know how long Dusty can stick with a losing proposition once he sets his mind to it.

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