If you still aren’t sold on the change brought by the new coaching staff, read these comments from Michael Lorenzen. Lorenzen and the staff have a plan for him to pitch, hit and play centerfield in spring training. Lorenzen was pleased with the effort this staff made to talk with him and work it out (Mark Sheldon reporting):

“It’s fantastic, the effort they’re putting in,” Lorenzen said. “[In the past] A lot of the excuses were, ‘You know, we don’t want to overwork him.’ Well, let’s just sit down and talk about it then. They were willing to sit down and talk about it, which is one of the reasons why I love this staff so much and why I think the front office did a great job [hiring] this staff. They’re willing to find solutions for problems.”

It took a lot to coordinate everything, and it involved hitting coach Turner Ward, pitching coach Derek Johnson, outfield coach Jeff Pickler, head trainer Steve Baumann, strength coach Sean Marohn, along with others on the Reds’ staff.

Here is Sheldon’s lead:

Reds management clearly doesn’t view pitcher Michael Lorenzen’s ability to be a two-way player as a novelty. The plan for Lorenzen that was in place became reality on Thursday.

On the Reds’ Spring Training schedule posted in the clubhouse, Lorenzen was grouped with the outfielders to take batting practice. In past camps, hitting was often considered extra work for Lorenzen after he finished his usual workout with the pitchers. But that was then, and this is now.

Read the rest of Sheldon’s report, which has more quotes from Lorenzen.

Two weeks ago, Lorenzen said on national television that he’s “better in the outfield than anything I do on the baseball field. And I think no one knows that.”

I’ll confess to an irrational belief that Michael Lorenzen can hit and play outfield at the major league level. I know the odds are long. But watching him swing the bat and his athleticism often leaves me breathless. So I’m pulling hard for this to work out.

18 Responses

  1. Choo Choo Coleman

    Rick Ankiel was not a bad OF, either…What is the downside? Seriously? They are baseball players. Why not let them play.

  2. DrBagel

    I went back and read some scouting reports written of Lorenzen prior to the draft. Those evaluations thought very highly of his defensive ability, going as far as saying he had gold glove potential for center field. Lately, I’ve seen a lot of people be concerned about the Reds not having a true center fielder on the roster, but maybe they do have that guy. If he really is that good of a defender, and several years off haven’t affected him too much, I’d love to see him used as a late inning defensive replacement on days he isn’t pitching.

  3. Soto

    The most striking thing to me is Lorenzen’s comments about the current staff’s approach and ability to communicate, and how remarkably different it is from the past. That’s huge.

    • Roger Garrett

      I agree as well.Just have to remember we all are the same in that we can get along with anybody as long as we get our way.Lorenzen can help this team win ball games in other ways then as a reliever but personally I would have been more excited if they had agreed on him being stretched out to become a starter.Looks like that ship has sailed however so the Reds do realize he will make the 25 man roster and truly can run and hit.Go Reds

  4. Buddy

    I haven’t seen it mentioned at all but I think when discussing possible scenarios it’s worthwhile to remember that Matt Kemp can play centerfield if needed. From ‘06 to ‘16 he played over 800 games there and the Dodgers shuffled him over a few times at least last season.
    No I’m not saying he should be the CF, but if Puig can be considered an option occasionally or Senzel, Lorenzen, so should Kemp who has more experience there than anyone. Just saying, depending on who gets hot / hurt etc..you could have Winker, Kemp and Puig starting the same game. Moot point, of course, if he gets traded, but with his contract I see that being more a deadline possibility than now.
    Anywho, i like that the coaching staff seems open to thinking outside of the box, the more so the better. Go crazy, Go Reds!

    • Doug Gray

      No. Matt Kemp can not play center field. He’s simply not close to fast enough anymore.

  5. Jreis

    When I read these articles about Lorenzen playing centerfield I get so emotional I almost shed a tear. For over 50 years this club was always able to develop great center fielders. All the way back to the Veda Pinson days. Now we have to rely on a pitcher to possibly play the position.
    I know the game has changed. There is more emphasis on power than speed. But good lord can’t we develop a player that is actually fast enough to play center AND can hit a little bit. Where have all the Eric Davis’s gone?

    • Amarillo

      Eric Davis has been personally tutoring Nick Senzel all winter. Seems like Senzel could be the next Eric Davis.

  6. Indy Red Man

    Duh? I’ve only been saying this for 4 years now!

    Bobby Knight talking with Portland’s GM about possibly drafting Michael Jordan with their #1 pick. Portland “But we need a center”. Knight “Then play him at center then” Is Lorenzen like Michael Jordan? Um….no but teams like the Reds need to be creative. The big money teams can do what they’ve always done, but thats not the answer for Cincinnati. Lorenzen pinch ran in his rookie and scored from 1st on a double. His time was 2nd fastest on the team besides Billy. That HR to honor his Dads passing was about 430 to right-center. Thats not normal? Turn the kid loose already? What do they have to lose? He’s a pretty decent pitcher and could be better if he’d stick with one delivery, but try to see what he can do?

    • Mason Red

      I agree with this totally. The Reds definitely don’t look outside the box. Use his talents to help the team WIN.

      • Indy Red Man

        At the minimum I think this signals the beginning of the end of the Reds old school mentality while everyone else turned to analytics years ago. Trying to bunt 3-4 times a game and give away outs to attempt to win 2-1 in GABP when your pitching staff is 29th in era?

  7. Michael Smith

    I like the outside the box thinking. My question is what happens if Senzel is more than equal to the challenge of CF? Where do the AB’s come for Lorenzen while playing in the outfield? Are we sitting Puig, Winker and Schebler so he can start some games? Or are they looking more at roster flexibility and thinking he is more of a defensive replacement? So many questions and it will be interesting to see how things turn out.

    • Cbus

      In that case Senzel starts in AAA learning CF and saving service time. Lorenzen/Schebler platoon in CF, Puig in RF everyday and Winker in LF most days with a little Matt Kemp sprinkled in. Senzel’s the first man up when any infielder or outfielder inevitably gets hurt.

  8. TR

    What a hitter. Stan the Man and this unique batting stance with the bat held high. I remember, as a kid, reading that Ted Williams, Stan Musial and Joe DiMaggio would all make $75,000., tops in baseball for that season. How things have changed.

  9. lost11found

    With the news that Gray is missing a start, this could change Lorenzens’ plans. If it is minor but causes SG to not get the need work in ST, then I would stretch Lorenzen out, and use him a few starts in April when the schedule isn’t so compressed. If he does well, it creates a logjam of sorts but one of a good kind.

  10. KDJ

    The misuse of Lorenzen’s talents by former management have been disgusting and sad. It is like management had no idea what to do with him, so they did not do much of anything. He may not have all-star talent at any position, but he is an exceptional athlete with MLB talent at CF and P. Plus, he is extremely fast and seems to be a good team guy. He should be used a lot more than 81 innings in a year.

    • Indy Red Man

      No misuse? Maybe he can’t hit a curve and you’re right. Or maybe you’re wrong? Why not DH him in 3 starts in an AL park and find out? What playoff spot have the Reds been fighting over these last few years?
      They were eliminated by college kids spring break last year. 2017 we started Deli boy Adleman, and the lollipop kid Arroyo, and Wojo and literally every other scrub they could sign. Why not start Lorenzen and see what he could do? Say he went 4 starts with 6 ip and 3 er while driving in a couple of runs in 4 starts. Thats a 3.75 era more or less. Say he’s on 2nd and scores on a single. Romano hits .00023 and couldn’t score from 2nd on a triple.

      Bottom line….if you have baseball players with talent and you don’t give them a chance while featuring talentless scrubs then thats misuse.