Lorenzen could return to Reds in relief role

Pitcher eligible to come off the 60-day DL on June 2

Lorenzen could return to Reds in relief role

CLEVELAND -- Out in Arizona during extended spring training, injured Reds pitcher Michael Lorenzen has incrementally advanced his throwing program from playing catch to long tossing and has now worked off of a mound twice. When he does return to the Reds this season, there is strong chance it could be as a reliever.

"If he didn't have a reliever's background, I think it would be harder," Reds manager Bryan Price said on Tuesday. "I think we have to really look at where we are at the time that he's ready."

Lorenzen dealt with a strained right elbow ligament and tendinitis in early March, followed by a bout with mononucleosis in early April that kept him from doing anything for several weeks. In terms of where he has progressed since, he's at the equivalent of where he'd be if he was just reporting to Spring Training in mid-February.

Looking ahead, the Reds are hoping to get fellow starting pitchers Homer Bailey, Anthony DeSclafani, Raisel Iglesias and Jon Moscot back from injuries over the next month-plus. There may not be a spot in the rotation for Lorenzen, but his return could be expedited if he went to the bullpen.

"Once we have all these guys back, it's going to be really interesting to piece this group together when we're close to being whole and find where these guys are best suited to help our ballclub, not just to finish out the season but to move forward," Price said. "I think we have to, at some point in time, make some determinations with what we have and decide where these guys are best suited to help our ballclub. I think we can look at Michael in any number of ways.

"As a starter, certainly his numbers in Triple-A were significant and really good, and he had some moments with us. We also know he has a history in college as well as some limited exposure out in the bullpen last September."

Lorenzen is eligible to be activated from the 60-day disabled list on June 2.

"So much is going to happen over the course of the next several weeks to kind of see where our needs are and who's getting healthier and how these programs are going for all these guys," Price said. "Hopefully Michael doesn't have any setbacks and he's with us at some point in June."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. 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.