MESA, Ariz. -- Sometimes, the waiting is the hardest part.
Reds reliever J.J. Hoover has certainly made the pitching look easy. Hoover entered Tuesday with a 2.00 ERA in eight games with just one walk and 16 strikeouts. He has struck out nine of his last 10 batters.
"Oh yeah, it's just the unknown," Hoover said of waiting to see if he makes the 25-man roster. "I'm prepared for anything. I'm prepared for whatever decision happens. But, it would be nice to get a decision soon."
Hoover is competing with Logan Ondrusek, Manny Parra and Alfredo Simon for one of the final bullpen spots. Last season as a rookie, he had a 2.05 ERA with 13 walks and 31 strikeouts in 28 appearances.
"He did it last year, too, the same thing he is doing now," manager Dusty Baker said.
Hoover has made it very hard for hitters to make any contact throughout the spring.
"In the world where velocity is most important, he has good velocity, but it's how you hide the ball which is more important," Baker said. "It's how you hide the ball, your delivery, how [the ball] jumps on you, if it has movement, if it has life. There are some guys throwing 97-98 mph, but they show you the ball soon and they throw a light ball with not much movement. If you catch up to it, it goes a long way."
Unlike Ondrusek and Simon, Hoover has Minor League options and could be sent down without going through waivers.
"I've done everything I can performance-wise up to this point," Hoover said. "I feel confident with what I've done. I understand the business side of things. I'll take the chips where they fall."
Mesoraco earns backup job; Olivo mulling options
MESA, Ariz. -- The Reds have decided that Devin Mesoraco will be the No. 2 catcher behind Ryan Hanigan.
Tuesday was the deadline for the Reds to either place non-roster invite Miguel Olivo on the big league roster or offer him a $100,000 retention bonus to report to Triple-A Louisville. The club offered the bonus and Olivo is still mulling his options before deciding.
"I would hate to see him go," manager Dusty Baker said. "Sometimes, contractual things supersede, sort of preclude what you want to do."
A 34-year-old veteran brought in to create competition with Mesoraco, Olivo batted .167 with one home run in 21 spring games for the Reds. If he accepts the bonus and heads to Louisville, his contract includes a June 1 out clause where he can ask for his release if he isn't on the Major League roster.
Tuesday's development signals that Mesoraco earned his place on the 25-man roster. He entered the night batting .361 and has been making solid contact all spring.
"It's not like Mesoraco didn't earn it," Baker said. "He did play well. [Monday], he had a bad game, but other than that, he's been great. You hope he's gotten to the point where he's mature enough where he realizes it's only a bad game and then you forget about it and don't dwell on it."
Like last season, Mesoraco will probably catch for Homer Bailey and Mike Leake.
Berry likely to switch spots with Speier
MESA, Ariz. -- Even after returning to Arizona from Cincinnati, where he learned he has cancer, Reds third-base coach Mark Berry has not been working on the field during games. Berry has been on the bench with manager Dusty Baker while bench coach Chris Speier is in the coaching box behind third base.
It's possible that it could be set up that way during the regular season. Berry is expected to miss road trips if he decides to undergo radiation treatment.
"We're discussing that now," Baker said. "Mark and I discussed it. It's not fair to him or the team or Chris to be in and out of there. There's a rhythm you get into. We're trying to decide that when he's there, he'll probably be on the bench with me.
"He can handle it. He's a baseball man. Chris can handle it because he has coached third before."
Speier coached third base on Baker's staff with the Cubs in 2005-06.
• Pitching in Minor League camp for Triple-A Louisville against Double-A Pensacola, closer Aroldis Chapman worked one scoreless inning with two walks and two strikeouts on Tuesday. Pitching for Pensacola, setup man Jonathan Broxton gave up one run and two hits with a strikeout in his one inning.