CLEVELAND -- Especially now that he's at the relatively new position of center field for the Reds, Shin-Soo Choo likes to take extra time at each ballpark before a series to study the outfield, the fences and how the balls play off the bat.
For the two games at Progressive Field on Wednesday and Thursday, that wasn't necessary for the former Indians star. He had six seasons there -- 2006-12 -- to fall back on.
"I've played a long time here," Choo said on Thursday. "It feels so comfortable in the outfield. In the batters' box, it feels comfortable. Everything -- the feel, the look, it's comfortable."
As for center field in general, Choo has appeared very comfortable -- regardless of the ballpark. He's committed only two errors, which both occurred in the same game -- on April 8 at St. Louis.
"Once you're familiar with an area, and the more you play, the better you should be," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He's an athlete. He's a ballplayer. If you put in the work, you should get better if you have instincts and ability. So I'm not surprised when a guy is better. I'm surprised when a guy doesn't get better."
Mesoraco fills DH role against lefty Kazmir
CLEVELAND -- For the first time in his brief career, backup Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco was the designated hitter in the lineup vs. the Indians on Thursday. It's the first time that manager Dusty Baker was able to have Mesoraco and catcher Ryan Hanigan in the same lineup.
"Plus, we're left-handed strong, and Hanigan and Mesoraco hit lefties," Baker said. "It's the best lineup I can [have]. It poses a problem, and you hope Hanigan doesn't get hurt, or I don't have to pinch-run for him. They [the Indians] are in the same boat over there with [Carlos] Santana DH-ing."
The Indians started a left-handed pitcher in Scott Kazmir Thursday. Entering the night, Mesoraco was a lifetime .329 hitter against lefties, compared to .178 against right-handers.
Under the rules, if a DH is switched to play defense in a game, the club loses the right to use the DH, and the pitcher must hit.
Robinson starts in left, bats eighth Thursday
CLEVELAND -- During Wednesday's game, the Indians batted speedy Drew Stubbs in the ninth spot against the Reds. Depending on how the lineup turned over, Stubbs was effectively a second leadoff hitter ahead of actual Cleveland leadoff man Michael Bourn.
On Thursday in the series finale, the Reds started their fastest player -- Derrick Robinson -- in left field. But manager Dusty Baker batted Robinson eighth, behind designated hitter Devin Mesoraco and ahead of catcher Ryan Hanigan.
Might Baker have considered batting Robinson ninth to put his speed ahead of leadoff man Shin-Soo Choo?
"I thought about it," Baker said. "Robinson's leg is bothering him. So I might not be able to run him, and I might be able to use just his bat instead of his legs."
Baker would not elaborate on the nature of Robinson's leg issue. Also, Baker felt like he needed to separate Mesoraco and Hanigan.
"Last night, I didn't like Hanigan and [Jack] Hannahan back-to-back," Baker said. "I had no speed. If he feels good, I can still hit and run with Robinson."