– Friend of RN, Devin Mesoraco, hit a long HR on Wednesday (estimated by Dusty as traveling a “mile, a mile and a half”) that has drawn some attention from the media. John Fay writes about Devin today.

“It’s good when they can hit,” Baker said. “But their No. 1 job is to catch. Then if they can hit, you’ve got a star.”

Mesoraco sees catching as his No. 1 job, too.

“No doubt,” he said. “If you’re putting on the gear, that’s the main focus of any catcher, being able to handle the pitching staff and all the little things that go into catching – the plays at the plate, throwing out runners. You want to have the pitchers feel comfortable with you back there.”

Baker has seen Mesoraco get better defensively.

“I’ve seen improvement from last year to this year,” Baker said. “There’s some things he needs to work on some. He’s working hard with (bullpen catcher Mike) Stefanski and (bullpen coach Porky Lopez). His throwing is whole lots better than last year.”

A solid catching prospect or two in the system, especially one that could be big league ready this season gives the Reds more bargaining power (trading Hernandez or Hanigan maybe near the deadline?) if they feel the need to make a deal later in the year.

By the way, if you haven’t listened to our podcast interview with Devin, what are you waiting for?

– John Erardi gives us another great glimpse of a former Red, this time Reds HOFer Jack Billingham. John even doles out a little information on how he believes teams can keep pitchers healthy into their 30’s…

Atypical of the most well-known Reds starting pitchers – Jim Maloney, Jim O’Toole, Gary Nolan, Don Gullett, Mario Soto and Jose Rijo, among others — Billingham pitched (and pitched well) into his 30s.

From ages 30 to 32, he won, respectively, 19, 19 and 15 games.

A very likely reason for Billingham’s arm health – we now know, thanks to the benefit of hindsight – is that he never threw more than 142 innings in any single season until he turned 27.

I’d forgotten how badly Dick Wagner screwed up when he traded Billingham. If you can name (w/o looking it up) the players the Reds received for Billingham, Chad will buy you a beer at the next RN Reds gathering. (Just kidding.) This defines bad trade.

– Volquez says his visa issue is resolved.

“Everything is set,” Volquez said. “They’re just waiting for me to pick it up.”

Volquez said he will go to the Dominican on Sunday and return to camp on Tuesday.

Let’s hope it’s as simple as that and we can move on and get ready for Opening Day.

– FSNOhio screwed up last night. They were showing the clinching game from last season on Reds Rewind….but cut away to the Blue Jackets game just before Bruce’s homer. Oops.

– Also, our Big Board and Salary Chart have been updated. Take a look.