Last week there was at least the idea that Michael Lorenzen could possibly have returned to join the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend for the Milwaukee Brewers series to end the first half. The Reds opted to take a little more time and leave Lorenzen with Triple-A Louisville and to pitch this week with the Bats. They aren’t off for the All-Star break, so they had games scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday before the big league teams return to the field on Friday.
On Tuesday night Michael Lorenzen fired out a shutout inning in Nashville. He allowed a bloop single into center and he struck out two batters. That was his 5th inning of work on rehab and hit first hit allowed, too. But he had not yet pitched on back-to-back days – something that he would be asked to do once he joined the Reds. That changed on Wednesday night as he entered the game with two outs and a runner on in the 5th inning. After getting ahead in the count he gave up his first hit and his first earned run on rehab on a 423-foot home run off of the batters eye. He rebounded by striking out the next hitter he faced to close out the inning. In the top of the following inning he hit for himself, grounding a seeing-eye single up the middle to close out his night.
Jeff Hoffman has been on rehab for nearly a month as he’s working his way back from shoulder impingement. He made his first appearance on rehab with Louisville back on June 22nd. He pitched four times in Triple-A on his way back and allowed just three earned runs in 15.1 innings (1.76 ERA) while allowing 11 hits, 4 walks, and he struck out 20 batters. He threw 82 pitches the last time out, but the Reds are sending him out at least one more time. Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported on Wednesday evening that Hoffman would make a start on Friday night for the High-A Dayton Dragons. The assignment is likely due to the fact that Dayton is playing at home, while Louisville is on the road in Nashville and with Hoffman not traveling with the team it’s just easier to send him to Dayton to get in his work.
That will likely be the final rehab appearance for Hoffman. Pitchers can spend up to 30 days on a rehab assignment. When the right-handed pitcher takes the mound on Friday it will mark his 25th day on assignment. Unless he got out and only throws an inning, then he most certainly won’t be activated during the Brewers series at home which runs Friday through Sunday. But after that there will be a decision to be made as to not only where he fits in on the team – rotation or bullpen – but who will be sent out to make room for him on the roster. With Lorenzen likely returning on Friday, and with the team also hoping Sonny Gray returns without missing a start after the All-Star break, the team has three moves to make in short order that will significantly alter the pitching staff.