Reds news: Michael Lorenzen to return as reliever after All-Star break

Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen (21) throws a pitch.
Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen (21) throws a pitch. /

According to Cincinnati Reds Manager David Bell, the idea of Michael Lorenzen becoming a starter in 2021 has all but evaporated. Lorenzen has been sidelined since spring training with a shoulder injury, and while it’s expected that the right-hander will be back in a Reds uniform by mid-July, he’ll be pitching out of the bullpen.

Bell said yesterday via that Lorenzen is progressing, but also mentioned that in an effort to get the 29-year-old back on the field as soon as possible, he’ll be returning to the team in a relief role.

"He can’t wait to get back. Maybe it’s an All-Star break thing for him. He will come back as a reliever. He’s not going to have to build up to be a starter. We’ll get him back quicker that way.”"

The Reds need Michael Lorenzen out of the bullpen.

This is honestly good news for the Cincinnati Reds, as the starting rotation seems to be taking shape. Vladimir Gutierrez has now put together back-to-back solid outings, signaling that Jeff Hoffman’s time in the rotation is likely caput.

While Luis Castillo still manages to hang on to his starting spot, should he or anyone else in the rotation falter, Cincinnati has two young hurlers down at Triple-A Louisville that are ready to make their big league debut.

Both Tony Santillan and Riley O’Brien have been putting up great numbers in their starts for the Louisville Bats this season. While both may eventually find their way into the Reds bullpen, the trade deadline or an injury to one of Bell’s starting pitchers could thrust either Santillan or O’Brien into action.

Michael Lorenzen has been an effective reliever for the Reds in the past.

Two seasons ago, it could be argued that Michael Lorenzen was the Cincinnati Reds best relief pitcher. Mikey Biceps posted a 2.92 ERA over 83.1 innings of work and recorded a career-high 85 punch outs that season.

Last season’s rocky start gave Lorenzen’s stat line a bit of a blemish, but the right-hander handled the adversity quite well and managed to post 35 strikeouts over 33.2 innings and logged two starts at the end of the season.

Going into 2021, Michael Lorenzen was expected to the be the team’s No. 5 starter behind Castillo, Sonny Gray, Wade Miley, and Tyler Mahle. With his injury shelving the the California native for the first two to three months of the season, Jeff Hoffman and Jose De Leon handled starting duties early on, but Gutierrez has since supplanted the ineffective right-handers.