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It has been exactly one year since Mesoraco last suited up at the major league level. This time last year, he was struggling to a .140/.218/.160 batting line over 55 plate appearances before suffering a shoulder injury. When he underwent surgery for a labrum tear, it marked the second consecutive year in which Mesoraco was shut down early with a significant injury after scuffing at the plate.
Mesoraco ended up not only having work done to his shoulder, but also another procedure on his hip. There’s now plenty of health uncertainty for the 28-year-old, who’ll be looking to prove again that he can handle MLB pitching both at the plate and behind it.
Of course, it wasn’t long ago that Mesoraco looked like a core piece for the franchise. In 2014, he slashed an excellent .273/.359/.534 and swatted 25 home runs in just 440 plate appearances. That led to a four-year, $28MM extension that bought up all his arbitration eligibility and also accounted for one would-be free agent season. But the deal expires after the 2018 campaign, so Mesoraco and his team will hope that he is able to regain his trajectory sooner rather than later.
Cincinnati will keep an insurance policy on hand in the even that Mesoraco struggles. Tucker Barnhart will presumably continue to see a fair bit of action as Mesoraco is eased back in. And Rule 5 selection Stuart Turner will keep his roster spot, meaning the team will carry three backstops — at least for the time being.