Lorenzen shows off two-way talent in outfield

Roark racking up strikeouts; Reds to announce Opening Day starter

March 16th, 2019

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Michael Lorenzen has completed the trifecta of potential roles in the Cactus League. He has appeared in games solely as a pitcher. He has appeared as both a pitcher and a center fielder. And now, in the wake of Saturday’s 5-2 win over the Rangers, he has appeared solely as a center fielder.

Lorenzen replaced Scott Schebler in center in the sixth, and played three innings. He stroked a single in his first trip to the plate. In the field, he made a diving attempt at what was pretty much an impossible play on a Danny Santana triple in the sixth. He caught the only other ball hit his way.

Though a bit ambitious on the Santana play, Lorenzen is a fluid defender in center. And he’s already established as a durable reliever for the Reds, for whom he has pitched 164 innings over the last two years. It remains to be seen how Lorenzen’s responsibilities will be doled out in the regular season.

“I don’t know, and I think that’s somewhat intentional, because I wouldn’t want to define that,” manager David Bell said. “It could be any wide range of activity for him to take the field and swing the bat.”

Bell said he’s not surprised at how well Lorenzen adapts to whatever is put in front of him.

“I think that’s because I’ve had enough conversations with him and spent enough time around him now that I’m not surprised,” Bell said. “Because it’s the way he thinks, it’s where his focus is, and he believes it.”

Lorenzen’s two-way talent could alleviate some of the concerns that accompany going with a shorter bench because of a 13-man pitching staff, as the Reds figure to do.

Roark roaring through camp
The Reds see Tanner Roark as more than just the innings-eating, essentially-league-average arm he was the last two seasons in Washington. They know Roark, at 32, is not far removed from a 2016 season in which he received down-ballot Cy Young support, and they believe he can provide them with above-average output.

It’s only Spring Training, of course, but Roark has backed up those beliefs so far with 14 1/3 Cactus League innings in which he has compiled a 2.51 ERA and 19 strikeouts. He looked particularly sharp Friday night against the Dodgers, when he allowed one hit in five innings while striking out eight and walking none.

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“I felt like I was attacking every pitch and not giving in to anybody,” Roark said.

Bell was especially pleased with that start.

“He obviously feels good and the season probably can’t start soon enough for him,” Bell said.

Worth noting
• Bell said he expects to announce his Opening Day starter “in the next couple days.” As previously discussed, minor injuries to Alex Wood and Sonny Gray have shaken up the pitching schedule a bit, but the Reds can still go a number of different directions with the assignment.

• Anthony DeSclafani had a sharp start against the Rangers on Saturday, working five innings, in which he allowed just a run on two hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. He is still, however, working on a curveball to deepen his repertoire.

• “I didn’t really get many swings and misses on it,” he said. “I threw a couple for strikes. They were still taking some. But I think it was still effective in the sense that I was just slowing it down and it was something different for the hitter to see. It might have played a role, whether it was weak contact or a fly ball. So there’s still a purpose to the pitch. But I want it to be more effective as far as getting strikeouts and throwing it for strikes more consistently.”

• Phillip Ervin’s in a tough spot, given the depth of the Reds’ outfield, but he continues to have a strong camp at the plate. He hit his fifth homer of the spring Saturday.

Up next
Like a traffic light, red turns to green on Sunday, as the Reds put on their St. Patrick’s Day best for a 4:05 p.m. ET tilt against the Indians at Goodyear Ballpark. Luis Castillo will get the start opposite Corey Kluber. The game will be broadcast on MLB.TV and Fox Sports Ohio.