CINCINNATI —Michael Lorenzen sat in a black La-z-boy recliner in the middle of the Cincinnati Reds clubhouse, wearing a gray sweat shirt with ’42’ on the chest honoring Jackie Robinson.
That’s twice the number he normally wears, ’21’ to honor Roberto Clemente, a man Lorenzen admires as much as he admires Robinson.
That he can’t do much else these days gives Lorenzen a useless feeling, especially when he feels he could grab a baseball right now and throw it through an Oshkosh M-ATV tank.
Lorenzen hasn’t been on a pitching mound since spring training when he suffered right shoulder pain. He joined fellow pitchers Anthony DeSclafani, Rookie Davis, David Hernandez, Kevin Shackelford and until Saturday Brandon Finnegan on the disabled list.
“Seem like the same thing every year with us, a bunch of pitchers on the disabled list,” said Lorenzen. “And it seems to happen to guys who work hard and stay in shape. It isn’t because we don’t work.”
When it was mentioned that some people questioned the medical staff, Lorenzen shook his head and said, “It is definitely not them. What could they do? Nobody knows what it is, but it stinks.”
Of his own situation, Lorenzen said, “I’m so frustrated. I want so bad to pitch. I ask them every day, ‘Can I throw, can I throw,’ and they say no. I really feel I could pitch now, that’s how good I feel, but they say no.
“So I say maybe I’ll be back in two weeks, but that’s me,” he said. “I believe they think it is more like a month.”
In the meantime, the 26-year-old native of Anaheim, Calif. is proud that he and his wife, Cissi, are in the process of closing on their first home, a house in Alexandria, Ky., 30 minutes from Great American Ball Park.
“Our first home of our own and we’ll be in Cininnati year-round,” said Lorenzen. “My wife also just finished nursing school and has a job at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital as a neonatal ICU nurse.
“Baseball being what it is, I could be traded and end up anywhere in the country,” said Lorenzen. “That won’t bother my wife because she can be a traveling nurse and her experience at Cincinnati Children’s is great because it is considered one of the best in the country.”
For now, though, Lorenzen would love to climb out of that recliner, grab a baseball, and strike out Yadier Molina.
WITH NOT MUCH ELSE to talk about around the Reds these days, conversations everywhere are about Nick Senzel, Nick Senzel, Nick Senzel. Why isn’t he with the Reds?
Why? Well, how about his .231 batting average with Class AAA Louisville? How about his one home run and one RBI in 39 at bats with 11 strikeouts?
Is that deserving of a promotion, other than to perhaps inject a bit of hype for dying attendance?
“We’re an organizion, not one person,” said manager Bryan Price. “This is not a situation where one person gets the say. This is what happens, a decision made by a lot of people for varying reasons.”
The reason now isn’t to save service time, to keep Senzel’s arbitration/free agent clock from ticking. If he is called up now, the Reds lose nothing as far as starting his free agent clock.
Right now it seems it is performance.
“I think he could help us, but there is also the argument that people who see him and know him better than I do don’t think he is ready,” said Price. “When that time comes, we’ll see him here, especially with Eugenio Suarez out.”
Senzel started the season at Louisville playing shortstop and second base, but has switched to third lately, perhaps a sign he is being prepared to move on up.
THIS PERIOD OF DESPAIR for the Reds isn’t something that Price has not felt before, although he was a pitching coach at Seattle and Arizona when his teams matched what the Reds are doing.
Price said when he coached in Seattle that the Mariners started the 2004 season poorly (2-and-8) and the Mariners had some severe down time in August. And he said when he was at Arizona the D-Backs went 3-and-18 in one stretch, “And it is not fun, it is not comfortable, but it always turns. It will turn. But when you are in it, you wonder, ‘When is it going to turn?’ We’re all impatient and frustrated.
“What I am seeing here right now from our guys is a lot of frustration because they know that, under the worst of circumstances, none of us sees this team as a 2-and-12 club,” said Price. “And there is no excuse. We aren’t saying, ‘We don’t have this and we don’t have that’ I feel with the 25 players we have that we can win more games than we have.
“So, that frustration is palpable, no doubt about it,” Price added. “But guys are still coming in early to prepare, playing hard on the field. That hasn’t changed. The frustration level has changed. And that will continue until we play better baseball.”
OUTFIELDER SCOTT SCHEBLER is eligible to come off the disabled list Monday when the Reds open a six-game road trip in Milwaukee.
To see if his ulnar nerve is fully healed, he was schedued to play a rehab game Sunday with Class AAA Louisville at Lehigh Valley in eastern Pennsylvania.
“We’ll see after he plays, we’ll hear from manager Pat Kelly and their training staff to see if he needs more time there or if he only needs one game,” said Price. “He’ll play at least one and then see how he comes out of it.”
Price was pleased with what he saw from disabled relief pitcher David Hernandez on Saturday.
“He threw really well yesterday and is scheduled for a simulated game Tuesday in Milwaukee,” said Price. “We’ll see how he recovers because his issue in spring training wasn’t when he threw because once he got loose he was fine. It was the day after that was really the problem. We can’t have him pitch and then have a mandatory day off. We need our guys durable and ready to pitch on back-to-back days.”