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Lorenzen soaking up first Spring Training experience

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds pitching prospect Michael Lorenzen's career has seemingly been moving at light speed. For his first-ever pro Spring Training, the 22-year-old Lorenzen is in the big league camp as a non-roster player.

"It's been exciting, that's for sure," Lorenzen said on Sunday. "The Reds have put me in a really good position. I'm grateful so I'm going to give them the best of my ability and put 100 percent into everything they tell me to do."

Lorenzen was the 38th overall selection in the competitive balance portion of the first round in the 2013 Draft. He pitched at four different levels last season and reached Double-A and then learned how to become a starting pitcher in the Arizona Fall League after the season.

"The biggest thing is just learning how to be a pitcher and not just go up and throw," Lorenzen said. "I think it's really good for me to be in a clubhouse like this where you have guys like [Mat] Latos, [Tony] Cingrani and [Mike] Leake. All of these guys have so much knowledge. They've been pitching their whole lives and I've been pitching for two years."

Throughout high school and his first year of college for Cal-Fullerton, Lorenzen was an outfielder. He added pitching his sophomore year in 2012 and became the team's closer.

"Everybody knew I had a good arm, but I never pursued pitching," Lorenzen said. "We thought that if I closed at Fullerton, we had a better shot at winning. I told them I would do it. It ended up working out."

A two-pitch pitcher as a college reliever, Lorenzen began adding secondary pitches since turning professional. He developed his changeup in the Minors last year while posting a 3.00 ERA in 22 games. This spring, he is working on a slider.

"I've been working with Cingrani at playing catch and making my slider more consistent," Lorenzen said. "He learned one too last year and it's fresh in his mind. We were playing catch today and it felt way better."

Lorenzen admitted the speedy transition from college player to professional and to a starting pitcher was draining. He recharged his batteries for a month and a half and resumed throwing on Jan. 1, working out at the facility owned by his agent, Scott Boras, with Major Leaguers Jered Weaver and Gerrit Cole.

"I've been able to come back nice and refreshed," Lorenzen said. "I feel like a freshman in college again here. I'm wide eyed. These are guys I looked up to last year. Now I'm in the same clubhouse with them."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon.
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