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Lorenzen nearing return; Suarez back in lineup

Veteran reliever building up stamina on rehab assignment
MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- Reds reliever Michael Lorenzen has continued to pass tests in his rehab assignment with Double-A Pensacola and could be joining the Reds in the near future. Lorenzen has been out since the middle of March because of a strained teres major muscle near his right shoulder.

After he threw a scoreless inning in his first game on Monday, Lorenzen allowed one walk over one hitless inning with 12 pitches vs. Biloxi on Wednesday. Then he threw in a side bullpen session Thursday.

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CINCINNATI -- Reds reliever Michael Lorenzen has continued to pass tests in his rehab assignment with Double-A Pensacola and could be joining the Reds in the near future. Lorenzen has been out since the middle of March because of a strained teres major muscle near his right shoulder.

After he threw a scoreless inning in his first game on Monday, Lorenzen allowed one walk over one hitless inning with 12 pitches vs. Biloxi on Wednesday. Then he threw in a side bullpen session Thursday.

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"Lorenzen threw a second day, a pretty intense bullpen [session], to simulate two days in a row," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said Friday. "His next time will be two innings. When we get him here, we feel like he can be another guy who can go more than three outs for us. We'll like having that, and he's anxious to do that."

Lorenzen is due to pitch those two innings on Sunday vs. Jackson. It's possible he could get one more rehab outing after that.

"We're getting real close," Riggleman said of Lorenzen's activation. "Somewhere between now and I would think the 25th or 27th."

Also at Pensacola, rehabbing starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani (left oblique strain) is scheduled to start vs. Jackson on Saturday. DeSclafani threw three perfect innings Monday in his first start.

Doubleheader starters revealed

The Reds revealed Friday that Luis Castillo would start Game 1 of Saturday's day-night doubleheader vs. the Cubs. Sal Romano is scheduled to pitch Game 2.

How did Riggleman come to the decision of which pitcher starts first?

"Just kind of a feel for which guy prefers it," he said. "Romano felt strongly that he wanted to pitch the night game, and Castillo, it didn't matter to him, so we'll go with Castillo the first game."

Suarez back in lineup

Riggleman had two lineups written in the afternoon ahead of Friday's game vs. the Cubs: one with third baseman Eugenio Suarez in it, and one without. Suarez, who missed Wednesday's game vs. the Giants with a sore right ankle, first passed some tests on the field, including running side to side, backpedaling and taking ground balls before Riggleman determined Suarez could start.

"I feel really good after that work," Suarez said.

Video: CIN@SF: Suarez smashes a 2-run homer in the 3rd

During the first inning of Tuesday's 5-3 loss to San Francisco, Suarez jammed his ankle into second base as he tried to return to the base following a Scooter Gennett single. He was able to stay in the game and hit a two-run home run in the third inning, followed by a double in the eighth.

"I don't think I felt it at the time. I tried to win the game," Suarez said. "After I hit the homer, I hit a double, and my ankle felt great. The tough time was the day after. At the time, it scared me a lot. I couldn't move my ankle, and that's why I called a timeout and rested it a little."

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.

Cincinnati Reds, Michael Lorenzen