Michael Lorenzen is filling a much needed role for the Reds right now.
The mostly weak starts by Reds’ starting pitchers have caused extra work for the bullpen. Lorenzen has been able to help diffuse the situation with his ability to pitch more than one inning.
The Reds were hoping that by now the young starters in the system would establish themselves in the Major Leagues. The two rookie starters currently in the rotation Luis Castillo and Sal Romano have too few starts to predict long term success.
Lorenzen came out of Cal State - Fullerton as a centerfielder and late game closer.
The Reds drafted him and made him a starter. He made 21 starts among his 27 appearances in his rookie season in 2015. He was 4-9 with a 5.40 ERA.
Last season he made one start in spring training then went down with pain in his elbow. It didn’t require surgery but when he came back on June 24, the Reds needed him for a struggling bullpen. Lorenzen was like a five-hour energy drink for the club. He made 35 relief appearances, fashioning a 2-1 record with a 2.88 ERA.
Bryan Price would not rule out putting Lorenzen back in the starting rotation.
“It’s a talking point because I know how badly he wants it,” Price said. “He is filling a very important role for us this year. Going into the off season we can re assess and maybe we can provide him with that opportunity, if it’s the best fit for the club. He’s not a reliever because we don’t believe he can start.’
“Michael isn’t a two-pitch reliever. He is a fastball, curveball, cutter, change guy. We let him pitch multiple innings in spring so he can access all his pitches,” Price said. “There have been a lot of moving parts to his brief Major League career. He was a starter, reliever, back to starter. I still believe that he can start. We will do whatever gives us the best chance to win.”
The Reds are still undecided on who will pitch Saturday to replace Scott Feldman, who is out with a knee injury.
Internally Asher Wojciechowski is a candidate. He made four starts for the Reds earlier, Wojciechowski pitched five innings in relief of Feldman on Monday. Jackson Stephen, who won his Major League debut against the Cubs, July 1, pitched six innings last night for Louisville.
The Louisville Bats have not listed starter for Friday, Saturday or Sunday as if they are expecting one of their starters to be called up.