A tired Lorenzen needs a break

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave while icing my arm after throwing out the first pitch at the Miami Valley Adult Baseball League All-Star game at Howell Field.

OK, so the pitch was high, wide and ugly, but I threw it from the pitching rubber and it wasn’t too bad for a 74-year-old geezer who hadn’t thrown a baseball for a decade or two.

THE FIRST YEAR I was a sports writer, back in the horse and buggy days of 1962, one of my first assignments was to cover the old Dayton ‘AA’ adult amateur baseball league at Howell Field. And one of the first stories I did was on Ray Huss — and I shudder to think about the stupid questions I probably asked him.

Huss, who is about as gray of head as I am, was at Howell Field for the All-Star game and approached me with the standard, “You probably don’t remember me, but. . .” Amazingly, as soon as he mentioned his name I remembered and I said, “Yes, you were a pitcher.” Now, don’t ask me what I ate for lunch yesterday, but I remembered Ray Huss.

He was there to watch his grandson, Ian Huss. And Ian not only hit a home run over the scoreboard in left field, he was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.

THE BEATING Cincinnati Reds pitcher Mike Lorenzen took Tuesday at the hands of the San Diego Padres was tough to watch. He pitched only 1 1/3 innings and gave up seven runs and seven hits. His body language was that of a puppy just whipped with the Sunday New York Times.

OVER HIS LAST eight starts he is 0-and-6 with an 11.35 earned run average. Lorenzen is a great kid, a guy who turned his life around after doing drugs on a pier near his Anaheim, Calif. home to a religious fanatic who wears scripture tattoos on his arm.

But it is time for the Reds to let him take a step back before his confidence is ruined forever. He is scheduled to pitch again Sunday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He shouldn’t make that start. He should be skipped in the rotation to catch his breath or put in the bullpen to work on things or sent back to Class AAA Louisville to regroup.

IT IS OBVIOUS he is tired. His velocity has dropped from 95 miles an hour earlier in the season to 91 and 92. His breaking pitches aren’t sharp.

There is no doubt he has the stuff and the makeup to be a solid major league pitcher. But he has only been a starting pitcher for a couple of years after mostly playing the outfield at Cal State-Fullerton.

The other four rookies in the rotation right now have been solid — Anthony DeSclafani, Raisel Iglesias, Reyvius Sampson and David Holmberg. And the Reds have a slew of starting pitchers in the minors ready for their auditions.

Wins and losses mean nothing to the Reds right now. But permitting Lorenzen to take beating after beating is not good for his baseball health and well-being.

FOR THOSE WHO haven’t yet heard my stories and more importantly, haven’t purchased my book, ‘The Real McCoy,’ I will be at the Northmont Public Library on National Road in Englewood Thursday night at 6:30.


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