In a season already full of unexpected twists and turns, here comes more news out of left field. Plans are racing forward for Devin Mesoraco to rejoin the Reds roster — and lineup — as a corner outfielder. The idea received a world-class thumbs up from a top hip surgeon this week.

Mesoraco met with renowned hip specialist Dr. Bryan Kelly in New York. Dr. Kelly has operated on more than 100 professional athletes over the past decade, including New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez. The pioneering Manhattan surgeon is co-director of the Center for Hip Preservation at the Hospital for Special Surgery. He has literally written the book on the hip arthroscopy that Mesoraco will need to fix his hip impingement. (For just $99.95 you can add the soft cover edition to your library.) Kelly does 500 of those two-hour surgeries a year.

Headline from the meeting: Kelly assured Mesoraco that playing the outfield would not further injure his hip.

“He said you can’t hurt any worse at this point,” Mesoraco said. “It’s something you can’t do any more damage to.”

The wrist injury to Marlon Byrd created an opportunity in the eyes of the Reds front office that precipitated the plan to move Mesoraco to left field. The Reds are looking to add his formidable bat to their lineup. Whether or not the organization will admit it there are longer-term benefits to Mesoraco learning to play the outfield.

Mesoraco and the Reds have discussed the post-surgery recovery time needed for the catcher to be 100 percent ready for the 2016 season. The experts are telling them four to six months. Mesoraco also talked to Matt Treanor, a former big league catcher who had hip impingement surgery. Treanor’s recovery took the full six months, so it would be surprising if the Reds and Mesoraco worked under the assumption that the Reds catcher can return in four.

John Fay, Reds beat writer for the Cincinnati Enquirer, says the surgery won’t be postponed beyond early August, which is what I speculated on Thursday. (“They could let him work on learning the outfield in June and July and then have the surgery on August 1.”) Fay also thinks Mesoraco will return to New York to have Dr. Kelly perform the surgery.

Everyone expects Mesoraco to return to catching after the surgery. Treanor said he felt fine catching after his arthroscopy. Dr. Kelly has operated on professional hockey goalies with good results.

“They (goalies) have all come back fine,” Mesoraco said. “They do a lot more with their hips than I do.”

Mesoraco is no longer suffering from pain associated with the ill-fated workout the Reds gave his hip in Kansas City. Bryan Price says Mesoraco is feeling good and the catcher has already begun aggressive practice sessions with Billy Hatcher learning to play the outfield. It sounds like the Reds don’t plan for Mesoraco to spend an extended period of time on a minor league rehab assignment.

Devin Mesoraco will be back in the Reds batting order sooner than anyone expected — and playing left field.

8 Responses

  1. I-71_Exile

    This is great news! We’ll get to see short term just how good (or bad) Mes is in the outfield.

  2. JMO

    Mesoraco will never C again BC of the hip. He will be a permanent LF for us. Great move, it allows Tucker to get valuable playing time next year. Resign Pena for a year as well. Split with Barnhart.
    2016 lineup:

    Phillips, Votto, Frazier, Mes, Bruce, Tucker, Cozart, Hamilton

    • Vanessa Galagnara

      I like it… especially if they all play to potential.

    • BigRedMachine

      > Phillips, Votto, Frazier, Mes, Bruce, Tucker, Cozart, Hamilton

      Even if they did permanently move Mes to LF, there’s no way the Reds can afford Cueto and likely Leake. You would hope we would get someone for them that could break the starting lineup.

  3. Tom Reed

    This means if Mesoraco works out in left field that Bruce will be tradable and one of the Reds young outfielders in the minors can take over right field.

  4. Kevin Michell

    Great to hear the reports from Treanor and concerning goalies (as I wasn’t sure A-Rod/Utley’s recoveries were reasonable to expect from Mes because of catching). Mes might have to be a dual-position starter if his hip can let him handle both (and as the Reds begin to assess which of their young assets are ready to take over in 2016/17- Winker, trade returns, etc.).

  5. Jeremy Conley

    It’s hard to disagree that the Reds are taking a risk, and with their record where it is, it’s hard to see a chance of much reward. That said, I think it’s a good idea to get Mesoraco some time in the outfield, and it seems totally possible that the impingement he has is different than Utley’s or A-Rod’s and will allow him to hit and run at 100%.

  6. BoldOD

    I am happy that they went outside of the Reds traditional closed door system for his care.