Reds skipper Price likes Lorenzen's versatility

Reds skipper Price likes Lorenzen's versatility

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Reds have a lot of pitchers in camp competing to make the rotation. Some of those pitchers are simultaneously in consideration for jobs in a wide-open bullpen competition as well.

Michael Lorenzen made starts in 21 of his 27 games last season as a rookie for Cincinnati. Although Lorenzen is vying for a rotation spot, manager Bryan Price liked the right-hander's versatility and did not rule out Lorenzen as a reliever.

"The thing that Michael has done is he's been a dominant performer as a starter in Double-A and Triple-A," Price said on Saturday. "You know I don't like pulling the plug on young pitchers. Sometimes I may transition a guy from starter to reliever to fill a need for a particular club, with the long view still as remaining a starting-pitcher prospect.

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"However, I think that with Michael's background, with what he showed there in September in the bullpen, he could be a guy who could be a long-term fixture both as a starter or as a setup man/closer option."

Lorenzen, who was a closer and outfielder in college, had some ups and downs as a starter for the Reds in 2015. The 24-year-old was 4-9 with a 5.40 ERA and 1.66 WHIP. He posted a 3.56 ERA over his first 11 games, including nine starts. In 16 games (12 starts) from June 27 to the end of the season, he went 1-7 with a 7.18 ERA.

"Some of these guys have been very successful Minor League starters. Not all of them will be great Major League starting pitchers," Price said. "Some of them will kind of fall back into the bullpen and be impactful in that way. The jury is out on Michael. I think he can do both right now. We'll see how he best fits our ballclub this year."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.