Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco, already out for the season due to shoulder surgery, underwent surgery to repair the labrum in his right hip, the team announced today (Twitter link). Per the Reds, Mesoraco is targeting a mid- or late-January return to catching drills. This marks the second significant hip surgery for Mesoraco in the past year, as the 28-year-old underwent surgery to repair his other hip last season, cutting his 2015 campaign short.
Injuries have limited Mesoraco to a mere 39 games over the past two seasons, during which he’s batted just .158/.245/.200. Mesoraco’s inability to stay on the field has been one of a litany of factors in the Reds’ fall in the National League Central, and his shortened 2016 campaign deprives the club of what could have been a highly appealing trade candidate had he enjoyed a rebound from last season’s hip operation.
From a bigger-picture standpoint, a pair of hip surgeries is troubling for any player’s long-term health outlook but especially for a catcher, as Mesoraco’s position is the most physically demanding in the game. That his non-throwing shoulder was the shoulder that required surgery earlier this season is a small silver lining, but suffice it to say there will be ongoing questions about Mesoraco’s durability until he proves capable of handling a catcher’s workload in the wake of these operations. Cincinnati had already begun to experiment with deploying Mesoraco in left field last season in reaction to his initial hip injury, so perhaps they’ll be open to mixing in some outfield time for Mesoraco in the future in an effort to keep him healthy.
The timing of Mesoraco’s injury-plagued seasons couldn’t have been any worse for Cincinnati. Mesoraco enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2014, fulfilling his status as a long-heralded top prospect with a .273/.359/.534 batting line and 25 home runs. That led the Reds to lock him up with a well-deserved four-year, $28MM contract extension, but he’s scarcely been able to take the field since putting pen to paper on that deal.