CINCINNATI — This is not a question from The Riddler, although it concerns three baseball players (Batmen?).
The riddle: What do Devin Mesoraco, Tucker Barnhart and and Stuart Turner have in common?
The easy answer is that they are all catchers for the Cincinnati Reds. But that’s too easy and that’s not the answer.
The answer is that all three will become fathers for the first time this month and all three will have boys.
IN FACT, MESORACO’S wife gave birth Sunday to Luke Mesocraco and Devin is on the three-day maternity leave list.
Tatum Elliot Barnhart is due September 1, “But the birth will be induced on August 31 if she hasn’t given birth by then because we leave on a road trip on August 31,” said Tucker Barnhart.
Easton Michael Turner is due August 30, a couple of days before the expected arrival of Tatum Barnhart.
“I guess back in November or December all three of us had the same idea,” said Barnhart. “Needless to say, it has been a constant subject of conversation among us.”
TURNER IS ALREADY prepared for his son’s arrival and future. “I’ve already ordered an extra set of catching gear,” he said.
There are no other catchers on the Reds’ 40-man roster and manager Bryan Price smiled and said, “There are probably a lot of non-roster catchers in our organization hoping to get some major league playing time in late August.”
Turner said he and the other catchers have kidded rookie outfielder Jesse Winker that if they are gone and the Reds need a catcher, he’s the man, even if he is left handed. “We told him he could be one of the rarest things in baseball, a left handed cather.”
TURNER IS THE TEAM’S No. 3 catcher and as such the only way fans get to see him most of the time is to peer into the dugout. He has been with the team all season and batted only 42 times with seven hits, two runs scored and three RBI. batted.
What that shows is that the Reds value him. He remains on the team because he is a Rule 5 draftee. The Reds drafted him last December out of the Minnesota Twins system and paid $100,000 for him. As a Rule 5 player, he has to remain on the Reds’ 25-man roster the entire season or be offered back to the Twins for $50,000.
They’ve opted to keep him, even though they continue to trade for catchers and draft catchers.
WHEN ASKED IF SITTING and watching most of the time was a grind, the 25-year-old off-season garage mechanic from Eunice, La., didn’t beg to differ. He just flat-out differed.
“I wouldn’t say it is a grind because I’m enjoying it,” he said. “It is definitely tough to stay mentally engaged. My name could be called at any time because there is no laid-out set schedule as to when I’ll play.
“I wasn’t expected to play Sunday but things didn’t go as well as we’d like,” he said. The stoky 6-2, 225-pounder Turner entered Sunday’s game early when the St. Louis Cardinals scored nine runs in the fourth inning en route to a 13-4 slaughter. “I got a couple of innings in and got an bat,” he said. “You have to make the most of that, put in the work on the side.”
Regardless of the little time he gets on the field, he has to be honored and proud that the Reds think enough of him to keep him on the 25-man roster all season with little opportunity to play him.
“Everybody’s dream is to be in the big leagues, but you want to play,” he said. “If you don’t, you try to make the best of every opportunity you get. You do what you can to stay ready when they need you.
“Whatever they say or see is up to them and I’m going to stick around as long as they want me,” he added. “I’ll do my best to be prepared.”
SCOTT FELDMAN COULD return from the disabled list as early as Friday or Saturday to pitch in Milwaukee. He is ithing to pitch and ready to scratch it.
But he has yet to test his knee by doing PFP (pitchers fielding practice) and running the bases.
“I’m hoping the next few days go well and they can get me back out there,” he said. “They have to make sure I can go first-to-home on a single or a double or something like that.”
That’s something he hasn’t done yet and is awaiting word from the team’s athletic trainers as to when testing his knee will be a go.
“I don’t know what that schedule is. I just show iup and do what they tell me to do,” he said. “I know for them to feel comfortable with me out there I have to pass a couple of more tests.
“I’m getting anxious to get back out there and hopefully it is sooner than later,” he added. “I’m trying to get out there as quickly as possible. The knee feels way better. It sucks not being out there, but there was no way I could pitch with the way it was. It feels way better and we got most of the inflammation out of there.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“We’ve had the good, the bad and the ugly. But with our pitching, we do feel we have talent and there is a lot of it in our system. Now it is our responsibility to make the most of it and extract the last bit of talent, ability and fight that they have to get themselves up to the big leagues and perform at the level we think they are capable of performing.” — Reds manager Bryan Price.