Upon return, Lorenzen heading to bullpen

Upon return, Lorenzen heading to bullpen

DENVER -- After keeping their options open for a few weeks, the Reds have decided that when pitcher Michael Lorenzen is ready to come off of the disabled list, he will be used as a reliever.

Lorenzen, who made 21 starts last season and was expected to be part of the rotation this season, has yet to pitch this season after he sprained his right elbow in March. He also missed time with mononucleosis. On Tuesday in Goodyear, Ariz., Lorenzen pitched two innings with 31 pitches in an extended spring game.

"On the front end of this, he'll be going every three days with shorter spurts," Reds manager Bryan Price said on Wednesday. "We are preparing him to pitch out of the bullpen, as opposed to starting. That's not an indictment on him or a lack of confidence in his ability to start, it's really more out of necessity coming off of an elbow issue. We felt it's easier to control coming out of the bullpen rather than as a starter. We could certainly utilize him out of the 'pen."

Lorenzen, 24, will pitch again on Saturday and is slated to remain in Arizona until extended spring camp ends June 8. If there are no setbacks, he will go on a Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville.

A former closer in college, Lorenzen also worked as a reliever in six games last season. The Reds' bullpen, owner of the highest ERA in the Majors, could certainly use some help.

As for his work on Tuesday, the reports were positive and Lorenzen provided good feedback to Reds pitching coach Mark Riggins on the phone.

"He said he felt really good and had no concerns with his elbow and everything worked out beautifully," Price said. "He's feeling good the day after, too."

Worth noting

• Starter Raisel Iglesias (right shoulder) is scheduled to throw 40 pitches in the bullpen on Thursday in Goodyear.

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.