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.Ã‚Â Kelly has operated on more thanÃ‚Â 100 professional athletes over the past decade, including New York YankeeÃ‚Â 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 bookÃ‚Â onÃ‚Â 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 recoveryÃ‚Â 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 IÃ‚Â 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 YorkÃ‚Â 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 isÃ‚Â feeling goodÃ‚Â and theÃ‚Â 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.