MLB Team Report - Cincinnati Reds - INSIDE PITCH
MIAMI -- The Cincinnati Reds looked more like the Cincinnati Reds on Friday.
Catcher Devin Mesoraco, who was rested and held out of Thursday's starting lineup, was back in on Friday, giving the team a legitimate clean-up hitter.
Mesoraco made his first All-Star Game this year and his 18 homers are already a career high and the most by a Reds catcher since David Ross hit 19 in 2006.
In addition to Mesoraco, the Reds got back right fielder Jay Bruce, who missed three games due to the death of his grandfather.
The Reds went 2-1 while Bruce was out.
"I was (the Reds') biggest fan while I was gone," said Bruce, who has 10 homers and 42 RBIs this season. "I hated to miss three games -- but this was family."
The presence of Mesoraco and Bruce added to the power bat of third baseman Todd Frazier (20 homers, 57 RBIs) and the speed of leadoff batter and center fielder Billy Hamilton (42 steals) to give the Reds a much stronger offense.
Things should get even better when first baseman Joey Votto and second baseman Brandon Phillips return from injuries.
Votto's status is unclear except to say the Reds are hoping he returns by late this month.
Phillips, who is on the disabled list after surgery on his left thumb, took ground balls Thursday for the first time since his operation.
Votto had 24 homers and 73 RBIs last season, and Phillips had 18 homers and 103 RBIs. Their value to the team cannot be overstated.
If the Reds can stay healthy and in the race until Votto and Phillips get back, they could be a serious factor in the playoff race.
MLB Team Report - Cincinnati Reds - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Won two
NEXT: Reds (RHP Homer Bailey, 8-5, 4.03 ERA) at Marlins (RHP Nate Eovaldi, 5-6, 4.37 ERA)
--RHP Homer Bailey is set to start Saturday against the Marlins. Over his past five starts, he is 1-1 with a 2.00 ERA. During that span, his 2014 ERA has dropped from 4.80 to 4.03. Bailey, 28, is a big part of the Reds' present and future. The pitcher with who already has two career no-hitters is signed through the 2019 season. Against the Marlins, Bailey is 2-1 with a 2.68 in six career starts.
--RHP Mat Latos, who played his high school ball in South Florida, beat his hometown team, the Miami Marlins, on Friday. Latos (3-3) is now 3-0 in his career at Marlins Park. He allowed five hits, four walks and one run in seven innings. Latos began this season on the disabled list but has since made nine starts. Of those, six have been quality starts. Latos, 26, is already in his sixth MLB season and overcame offseason surgeries to his right elbow and left knee.
--2B Brandon Phillips, who is on the disabled list after surgery on his left thumb, took ground balls during a Reds practice at Marlins Park on Thursday. It was the first time he had taken grounders since the surgery, and all went well.
--RF Jay Bruce returned on Friday after three days on the bereavement list due to the death of his grandfather. Bruce contributed right away to a 5-2 Reds win on Friday, getting a hit and a walk and scoring a run in five plate appearances.
--RHP Curtis Partch was sent down to Triple-A Louisville to make roster room for right fielder Jay Bruce, who was taken off the bereavement list. It was Partch's fifth stint with the Reds this season. Partch, 27, made his big-league deubt last year. This year, he has a 0.00 ERA in seven innings of relief and earned his first MLB win on July 11, when he beat the Pirates.
--C Devin Mesoraco was back in Friday's lineup after a one-day rest, drawing a walk and scoring a run in a 5-2 Reds win. The return of Mesoraco and right fielder Jay Bruce -- who returned from the bereavement list -- put a combined total of 28 homers and 94 RBI back in the Reds' lineup. Mesoraco made his first All-Star Game this year and his 18 homers are already a career high and the most by a Reds catcher since David Ross hit 19 in 2006.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We needed someone to pick us up offensively and drive in those big runs, and (LF Ryan Ludwick) has done that the past couple of days. It was important." -- Reds manager Bryan Price after a 5-2 win over Miami on Friday.
MLB Team Report - Cincinnati Reds - ROSTER REPORT
--LHP Manny Parra (back spasms) did not pitch July 21-Aug. 1. He played catch on the field at Marlins Park on July 31, his first time throwing since being injured. He is day-to-day.
--RHP Logan Ondrusek (strained right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 13. He began a throwing program July 29.
--2B Brandon Phillips (torn ligaments in left thumb) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 10. He had surgery July 11, and took ground balls during a Reds practice at Marlins Park on Aug. 1. He will be out until at least late August.
--1B Joey Votto (strained left distal quadriceps) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 6. He underwent a second round of platelet-rich plasma injections July 21. He might be able to return in late August.
--LHP Sean Marshall (left shoulder soreness) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 11, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 20. He underwent season-ending arthroscopic surgery June 24.
--RHP Trevor Bell (right elbow inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list April 8, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 20. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville on June 6, but he was shut down after that one outing. He underwent season-ending surgery July 16.
RHP Johnny Cueto
RHP Homer Bailey
RHP Mike Leake
RHP Alfredo Simon
RHP Mat Latos
LHP Aroldis Chapman (closer)
RHP Jonathan Broxton
RHP J.J. Hoover
RHP Sam LeCure
LHP Manny Parra
RHP Jumbo Diaz
RHP Carlos Contreras
1B Jack Hannahan
2B Ramon Santiago
SS Zack Cozart
3B Todd Frazier
INF Kristopher Negron
INF/OF Skip Schumaker
LF Ryan Ludwick
CF Billy Hamilton
RF Jay Bruce
OF Chris Heisey
INF/OF Donald Lutz