Lorenzen sees Clemente family at Clemente Museum

Reds' Award nominee visits with legend's relatives night before series in Pittsburgh

Lorenzen sees Clemente family at Clemente Museum

PITTSBURGH -- It just so happened that the Reds arrived in Pittsburgh on Wednesday evening and the Pirates were still celebrating Roberto Clemente Day. Perhaps the timing was kismet for Reds pitcher Michael Lorenzen, the team's Roberto Clemente Award nominee.

Lorenzen was able to pay a visit to the Roberto Clemente Museum, via a special invitation from one of Clemente's sons.

"Luis Clemente sent me a text and said, 'We'll be at the museum if you want to hang out,'" Lorenzen explained on Thursday. "I was able to spend some quality time last night with the Clemente family.

"It was really good. It was like we were just together yesterday in Puerto Rico. They are an awesome family and showed how grateful they were to me for honoring their family in the way that I'm doing it. It was pretty neat to see how happy they were for me."

Lorenzen, who was wearing a black T-shirt with Clemente's No. 21 in the visitor's clubhouse, was named on Wednesday as the Reds' nominee for the Robert Clemente Award, which honors a player who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.

During an offseason Christian mission trip to Puerto Rico, Lorenzen was able to meet and spend extended time with the Clemente family in their home. He was so moved by the experience and legacy of Roberto Clemente's humanitarian efforts, that he switched his uniform to No. 21.

Lorenzen is nominated

"For the timing to work out, they just left today at noon, last night was the only time I would be able to hang out with them," Lorenzen said. "I was able to spend a couple of hours with them at the Clemente Museum, which was nice."

Fans are encouraged to participate in the new process of selecting the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award by posting any nominee's voting hashtag to MLB's official social media accounts, @MLB on Twitter and Facebook.com/MLB. Lorenzen's hashtag is #VoteLorenzen.

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