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Lorenzen might be dark horse for rotation spot

Righty throws three sharp innings after two potential Reds starters were injured
MLB.com @alysonfooter

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Reds don't know if they'll have to replace one or two starting pitchers when Spring Training ends, but if they do need a surplus of help, they seem to have a favorable selection from which to choose.

Injuries to Anthony DeSclafani and Brandon Finnegan could create rotation opportunities for others when the Reds finish putting together their 25-man Opening Day roster. Amir Garrett, Tyler Mahle, Robert Stephenson and Sal Romano are all under consideration for a starting job.

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Reds don't know if they'll have to replace one or two starting pitchers when Spring Training ends, but if they do need a surplus of help, they seem to have a favorable selection from which to choose.

Injuries to Anthony DeSclafani and Brandon Finnegan could create rotation opportunities for others when the Reds finish putting together their 25-man Opening Day roster. Amir Garrett, Tyler Mahle, Robert Stephenson and Sal Romano are all under consideration for a starting job.

View Full Game Coverage

But a dark-horse candidate might have also emerged on Sunday during the Reds' 6-5 win over the Mariners. Right-hander Michael Lorenzen, who appeared to be ticketed for the bullpen when the spring season began, had a strong -- and, perhaps, timely -- three-inning outing in relief that did not hurt his case to make the rotation.

"He looked terrific," manager Bryan Price said. "It's nice to see the changeup be a prominent pitch for him. That was an important pitch for our entire staff today. It was a simpler mix of pitches, mostly fastballs, slider and change. He had really good command and a solid delivery. I was glad to see it."

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The Reds were dealt two blows Sunday. Earlier in the day, Price announced right-hander Anthony DeSclafani, a rotation lock, suffered a left oblique strain and will miss some time. Then, two batters in to his start against the Mariners, lefty Brandon Finnegan left with a lateral forearm spasm, the degree of severity to be determined.

Lorenzen's appearance later that day provided Price with more to ponder as he begins the process of piecing together a rotation significantly less sturdy than it was a day earlier.

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Lorenzen yielded an earned run over three innings, striking out three.

"I felt like it was where I wanted to be in Spring Training," Lorenzen said. "I made some adjustments while I was out there to clean it up a little bit. Finishing guys with the angle that I have on my fastball, I have to bury those breaking balls with two strikes. Once I start doing that, then it's going to be a lot more strikeouts and a lot less people putting the ball in play with two strikes."

Lorenzen's appearance was his third of the spring, in addition to a "B" game outing most recently on March 6. He struggled in his prior start on March 1 vs. the White Sox, allowing five earned runs over 1 2/3 innings.

Video: COL@CIN: Lorenzen on debut, bid for rotation role

Though seemingly behind several pitchers in the pecking order for available rotation spots, Lorenzen's role is still yet to be defined. He now has a couple more weeks to audition for openings that weren't available before Sunday.

"I show up every day to put myself in a good position," he said. "Every day, I put work in to be the best that I can possibly be. It's no different for me. With [Finnegan], hopefully he's OK, hopefully everything's good with him. I'm sure I'll talk to him after the game and see what's going on. Regardless of any situation, I show up to get the most out of who I am."

Ichiro's return

The main attraction for the 8,499 who flocked to Peoria Sports Complex on Sunday was the return of Mariners favorite Ichiro Suzuki, who made his spring debut after recently signing a one-year deal.

Price, who had an up-close view of Ichiro during tenure as the Mariners' pitching coach from 2000-05, expressed confidence that Ichiro, who spent the first 12 years of his Major League career in Seattle, has more productive years ahead of him, even at the age of 44.

Video: CIN@SEA: Ichiro greeted by Mariners fans with ovation

"From going back to when he was 27, his first year, he's always had those machines in the batting cages and he's always done the stretching and conditioning, and he's prided himself on being healthy to play," Price said. "I think he wants to play until he's 75. I think that's what I last heard. And he might do it. Who knows?"

Up next

The Reds will travel to Tempe, Ariz., to play the Angels on Monday at 1:05 p.m. MT. Right-hander Homer Bailey will make his fourth Cactus League start for the Reds looking to improve on his last outing, when he yielded six runs over three innings to the White Sox. The Angels will counter with right-hander Garrett Richards. The game can be seen on MLB Network or heard on Gameday Audio.

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.

Cincinnati Reds, Michael Lorenzen