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.