Lorenzen latest Reds pitcher to suffer injury this spring

Bell expects right-hander to be ready soon after start of season

The list of Cincinnati Reds pitchers who have battled injuries this spring grew Saturday when Michael Lorenzen suffered a slight right shoulder strain while pitching live batting practice.

Like Sonny Gray, Wade Miley, Tejay Antone, Amir Garrett and Lucas Sims, Lorenzen doesn’t have a serious injury. He had a long-toss session out to 110 feet Wednesday and felt great. He sounded optimistic he’ll be ready for Opening Day on Thursday when the Reds play the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park.

“I didn’t push it or anything,” he said. “I’m just trying to make sure there’s no setbacks or anything like that. If we continue with this path and are patient with it — I don’t want to like give an exact timeline — but I don’t foresee me really missing any anytime. I think one more outing for me will be good, whether I’m able to get that in on Monday before we leave or leading up to Opening Day or just during that week. I know I caught it early enough to make sure it wasn’t any big deal. It’s just a little hiccup. I’m glad I’m going through this during spring training because I feel like during the season I’m going to be ready to rock.”

Manager David Bell expects Lorenzen to return shortly after the season starts.

“All indications are it’s not going to be any sort of long-term injury,” Bell said. “He’s going to be back throwing soon. Just because of the timing and where we are in spring training and how close Opening Day is, there may be a chance he’s not ready for Opening Day. Given the fact that we’re building him up as a starter, that’s not the most important consideration anyway. We’re trying to get him back as quickly as possible to be able to continue his build-up.”

Lorenzen felt the pain while working on an adjustment to his curveball with pitching coach Derek Johnson.

“It was awesome every time I threw it,” Lorenzen said, “and it felt comfortable. I think just with how loose I was in everything, I just think that I over stretched a little bit, and I started to feel it here.”

Lorenzen learned from experience to take the slight pain seriously. Three years ago, he suffered a shoulder strain in spring training and did not pitch again until May 23.

“I know it’s not that bad,” he said. “There’s no need to do what I did back in ’18. I’ve learned from that and so now instead of being out for a month and a half, I don’t think I’m gonna miss any time at all.”

Lorenzen has made two starts and one relief appearance in the Cactus League. He has a 9.39 ERA in 7 2/3 innings. He’s competing for a starting job this spring after pitching well in that role as a fill-in starter twice late last season.

“My goal is just to be someone that my teammates look at and say, ‘I want that guy to take the ball,’” Lorenzen said, “and when I take the ball to be ready to win a ballgame because they know I’m going to give it everything that I have. That’s my goal. I just want to be reliable. I want my teammates to be able to count on me to go out and give it everything that I have and put them in the best situation to win.”

NOTES: The Reds (6-17) suffered their fifth straight Cactus League loss Thursday, falling 9-4 to the Chicago White Sox. Jose De Leon started and allowed seven earned runs on seven hits in four innings. He has made four starts and one relief appearance this spring and has an 8.64 ERA in 16 2/3 innings. Chelsor Cuthbert, who’s competing for a roster spot in the infield, hit his first home run of the spring. He’s hitting .167 (4 for 24) in 13 games.

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