Wish I could say the pain was gone. But it’s going to take some post-season series winning before I get over the 2012 NLDS. And every stinking time the Reds play the Giants, it’s going to make the anguish fresh again.

The Reds host the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants today in Goodyear. Wince.

The good news: Shin-Soo Choo’s OBP is up to .478 and Devin Mesoraco has hit .471/.526/.941 this spring. Nation commenter Brian Van Hook, last night: “For those who didn’t hear it late at night, Mesoraco came up with the bases loaded and two out and had a really good at-bat. According to Brantley, Meso was able to hold off swinging at a tough pitch that wasn’t a strike, then got a better pitch to hit and the result was a bases-loaded double. Brantley and Marty were really praising him for the type of at-bat, not just the result.”

Devin Mesoraco has clearly won a job over Miguel Olivo, but is the 24-year-old making the case for an expanded role in 2013? He caught 2 of 5 games (Bailey and Leake) for most of last season. If he continues to hit for average and power while playing solid defense, should Mesoraco take a few starts from Ryan Hanigan? File under: Good problem to have.

Here’s today’s lineup, per C. Trent Rosecrans, who is now writing for the Cincinnati Enquirer. (While working for CBS Sports, C. Trent took this shot at Reds’ fans last October. That’s kicking a fan base when they’re down. And he was dead wrong, too. The fan support in Game Five was unlike any baseball game I’ve ever witnessed.)

Keep your eye on Cesar Izturis. He’s the one with a shot to beat out Jason Donald for the second utility infielder roster spot.

  1. Shin-Soo Choo CF
  2. Zack Cozart SS
  3. Neftali Soto 1B
  4. Ryan Ludwick LF
  5. Jay Bruce RF
  6. Todd Frazier 3B
  7. Cesar Izturis 2B
  8. Miguel Oliva C
  9. Xavier Paul D

Bronson Arroyo takes the mound today for the Reds. He’s pitched once in 2013, for two innings. You might have missed this interesting article by John Fay on Arroyo. The pitcher candidly discussed coping with reduced velocity on his fastball. Arroyo: “Most days, I’m going to be 87 to 89. That’s enough for me to be successful. I wanted to push it to see if I could bounce back to 90, 91. But I really can’t, except on exceptional days. As long as I can throw 88, 89, I feel like I can command a ballgame.”

Sean Marshall, Jonathan Broxton and Jose Arredondo are also scheduled to throw an inning today.

Reminder: tomorrow I’m posting on the Reds financial situation and future payroll, and their implications for fighting the big money stacks in New York and Los Angeles. It’s based on my 2,000-word article “Modern Moneyball” in the Redleg Annual, which you can still buy for $4. The annual contains more than two-dozen in-depth articles about the Reds.

A bit of news that John Fay just reported, Billy Hamilton has a hamstring issue. Manager Dusty Baker: “He’s not ready. For a guy who depends on his legs, you don’t want it to linger.” Hamilton was listed by John Sickels today as the #14 minor league prospect in baseball.