CINCINNATI — Michael Lorenzen, a man always at peace with himself, knows how to handle adversity, knows it does no good to feel sorry for oneself.
He could have spent the first 2 1/2 months of the baseball season muttering, “Why me?” Or he could have sulked, fretted and pouted.
That, though, is not the way it is with the hard-throwing Cincinnati Reds pitcher, who encountered arm problems early in spring training and then came down with mononucleosis that caused him to shed 20 pounds.
HE IS BACK NOW and fired up to do what he can to help The Beleaguered Boys of the Bullpen.
“When you look at it from the perspective of not being able to play it has been really tough,” he said.
“When you look at it from the perspective of maturing and growing up it has been great,” he said. “It depends upon how you look at it and I prefer that there are multiple things happening here.
“THINGS HAPPEN FOR a reason and you meditate on what that reason was and for me it was maturity,” he said. “God saw that I needed to be humbled and He is the reason I play. Being up here it is very easy to be distracted. So it was really huge, a real good wake-up call.”
And Lorenzen said there was a learning process, too.
“I got to learn about my body,” he said. “How to further prepare my body for the long haul to where nothing like this will happen again. It is good that I’m learning it now and I’m able to visualize it and prepare mentally.”
LORENZ, A CENTER fielder/closer at Cal State-Fullerton, has pitched as a starter with the Reds and in the bullpen and he is in the bullpen now.
“Wherever they need me, I prepare myself to be the best baseball player I can possibly be,” he said. “They are my boss and wherever they need me that’s where I go. The Bible says to serve your boss as you would serve the Lord. So they tell me to jump, I say how high on the way up.”
That doesn’t mean Lorenzen wouldn’t like to be in the rotation, but that isn’t his call.
“That’s what I’m doing (bullpen), but do I believe I can be a starter? Absolutely,” he said. “Once they give me that opportunity I’ll run with it and never look back.”
HOMER BAILEY (remember him?) is the last pitcher yet to return and begins those steps Monday when he pitches two innings for Class AAA Louisville. That’s the first step of what may be five minor league starts to build his arm up to 100 pitches.
Bailey was back in Cincinnati this week after two pitching sessions in Arizona, “Where it was hotter than Hades, like 120 degree at 2:30 in the afternoon for live batting practice.”
After two live batting practice sessions, Bailey got to go home to Texas for a day, “And that was pretty awesome and got put to work raking hay.”
When told that Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller built up his arm tossing hay bales on his dad’s Iowa farm, Bailey laughed and said, “I’ll bet my tractor is bigger than Bob Feller’s was. My tractor works better than Bob’s did.”
SAID MANAGER BRYAN Price, “We’re looking at getting him stretched out to 90 to 100 pitches and that to me is a minimum of five starts. We’ve really taken a step back on how we are progressing Homer’s rehab. Our reports from Arizona were really good, but I’m just preventing myself from committing to anything about a guy who hasn’t made his first rehab start yet.”
JOEY VOTTO, still a whiter shade of pale after battling the flu for two days, was not in Thursday’s lineup and Price didn’t know about his availability to pinch-hit, but did say, “We do have a nice dangerous weapon on the bench.”
WITH PETE ROSE weekend nearly upon us, Price was asked about his remembrances of The Hit King. Price was a San Francisco Giants fan when he was a kid and saw The Big Red Machine in Candlestick Park many times.
“The image I always have of Pete Rose was one of base-hits to center field and Pete sprinting down the base line and making a huge turn,” said Price. “I referenced that when talking too our baserunners during spring training, about what we want to look like — busting out of the box. It’s a lost art, putting pressure on the defense and Pete did that as well as anybody. He put the ball in play then forced the defense to stop him.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY: Cody Reed makes his second major league start Friday night and while he did well in his debut (nine strikeouts) he also gave up two home runs and said, “I learned that you can’t miss locations with your fastball because these guys will hit them out of the park.”