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Reds: Outside chance Michael Lorenzen returns before All-Star break

Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen (21) smiles to manager David Bell as he is pulled in the fifth inning.
Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen (21) smiles to manager David Bell as he is pulled in the fifth inning.
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Michael Lorenzen may yet return before the All-Star break. Yesterday, Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell spoke about Lorenzen’s rehab. Look for the right-hander to begin a rehab assignment in Arizona before heading to Louisville to a couple relief outings.

Via C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic, Bell said that there’s an outside chance that Mikey Biceps rejoins the Reds before the All-Star break. That is certainly welcome news to the Cincinnati faithful, as Lorenzen is slated to return to a bullpen that has the worst ERA in Major League Baseball.

Could Michael Lorenzen save the Reds’ bullpen?

The Cincinnati Reds bullpen is, well, not very good. Sure, we’ve seen flashes from the likes of Brad Brach, Amir Garrett, and Heath Hembree, but with Tejay Antone and Lucas Sims on the injured list, David Bell has few, if any, reliable relievers on his team.

If Michael Lorenzen is able to return before the All-Star break, or shortly thereafter, this Cincinnati relief corps could look amazingly different a few weeks. Jeff Hoffman is slated to pitch for Triple-A Louisville on Friday, so one should assume that it won’t be long before the right-hander returns to the team. He’ll undoubtedly be working out of the bullpen.

Antone is on the 10-day IL with a forearm strain. The Texas native has been Bell’s best reliever this season, and this is Antone’s second trip to the IL. The team expects Antone to be back shortly after the All-Star break.

Sims was placed on the injured list with a strained right elbow, and expected to miss 3-4 weeks of action. Much like Tejay Antone, Reds Country should expect Lucas Sims to return mid-July, shortly after the Midsummer Classic.

Then there’s the transition of Tony Santillan from starter to reliever. Cincinnati optioned Santillan to Triple-A Louisville yesterday, and it’s expected that the right-hander will return to the team in a couple weeks and give David Bell a hard-throwing right-hander out of the bullpen.

The Reds bullpen could look very different after the All-Star break.

If Michael Lorenzen returns just before the All-Star break, and the aforementioned quartet of Hoffman, Antone, Sims, and Santillan all join the bullpen by mid-July, we’re looking at an entirely new and improved relief corps. And this is barring any potential trades between now and then.

If the Reds bullpen is comprised of Lorenzen, Hoffman, Santillan, Antone, Sims, Amir Garrett, Art Warren, Heath Hembree, and Ryan Hendrix, sign me up. You’ve also got the likes Brad Brach, who’s pitched well of late, and the lefty Sean Doolittle.

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Things are looking up for the Cincinnati Reds bullpen, and the addition of Michael Lorenzen before the All-Star break would be a huge boost. Here’s hoping this team stays afloat until the injuries have subsided and the Reds get to compete against their NL Central rivals at full strength.

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