After not having seen Michael Lorenzen since spring training, Reds manager Bryan Price was concerned as much on Friday about whether he’d recognize the pitcher as anything else.
“You don’t know what type of hair these guys are going to come back with — long, short, Mohawk, maybe new tattoos or piercings,” Price joked before the opener of a three-game interleague series against the Oakland Athletics. “You don’t know what you’re going to see.”
Price is hoping to see Lorenzen on the mound soon in a Reds uniform. The right-hander has missed the entire season after developing an elbow problem during spring training, then having his comeback sidetracked by a bout with mononucleosis while working out at Cincinnati’s Goodyear, Ariz., complex
Lorenzen stopped at Great American Ball Park on Friday to throw a bullpen session before moving on to Triple-A Louisville, the final stop on his return to the Reds. Price was happy to see Lorenzen had completely recovered from the mono.
“He did lose a lot of weight, but he put a lot back on,” Price said. “I don’t know how much he lost or what he weighs now, but with the way he’s performed, there’s no concern about his health.”
Lorenzen, a supplemental-round selection and the 38th overall pick in the June 2013 draft, was 4-9 with a 5.40 earned-run average in 27 games, including 21 starts, with the Reds last season. He is expected to at least open his Reds’ tenure this season in the bullpen.
Hamilton out: Before Friday’s game, the Reds placed center fielder Billy Hamilton on the seven-day concussion disabled list, retroactive to Thursday, making room for right-hander Anthony DeSclafani to make his 2016 debut.
Hamilton left Wednesday’s game against St. Louis in the eighth inning after banging his head while trying to steal third base in the fifth. He did not play on Thursday while working his way through the team’s concussion protocol.
“When you bang your head like he did, there are a lot of things you have to go through,” Price said. “He’s still not over the concussion issues.”
DeSclafani had missed the entire season after straining his left oblique during spring training.
Flat ground: Two other injured right-handers were seen tossing on flat ground before Friday’s game. Right-hander Homer Bailey, who’s working his way back from Tommy John surgery in May 2015, and Caleb Cotham, out since May 1 with shoulder inflammation, had throwing sessions in the Great American Ball Park outfield.
Bailey is expected to need more time than Cotham to return.
“He still has some stuff to do before he can throw bullpens,” Price said. “He’ll go to Arizona when they start up there again and throw some simulated games.”
Friday was Cotham’s third consecutive day of long tossing.
“He says it feels pretty good,” Price said. “He’ll spend about a week doing long-toss progressions before he can take the mound.”
“I didn’t do anything for 10 days, so I’m at the point where I’m getting used to the feel of the ball in my hand and finding the release point again,” Cotham said. “I’m not sure when I’ll get back on the mound. We’ll have to see how it feels.”
The rookie was 0-3 with a 7.40 ERA in 23 games, all in relief, before going on the disabled list.
Mystery man: Cincinnati’s starting pitcher for Monday’s series-opener in Atlanta remains to be announced, but Price indicated that it’s a pitcher who’s already with the team. The only reliever on the current staff who’s made a start this season is right-hander Daniel Wright.