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Reds not yet looking at Lorenzen as 2-way player

MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- On the heels of Reds relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen hitting three home runs in his last three at-bats -- including two as a pinch-hitter in the past two games -- there are no immediate plans for the club to exploit his bat in more grandiose ways.

"I think the way you use Mike is kind of what we're doing," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said on Sunday. "Try to pitch him in two- or three-inning segments where we're not going to use him the next day and/or two days, and then have him available to hit when needed. For the most part, the thing we haven't done is warm him up knowing he's going to pitch the next inning, then come down from the bullpen and go into the on-deck circle. It's probably not that big of a deal. We may eventually get into that situation.

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CINCINNATI -- On the heels of Reds relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen hitting three home runs in his last three at-bats -- including two as a pinch-hitter in the past two games -- there are no immediate plans for the club to exploit his bat in more grandiose ways.

"I think the way you use Mike is kind of what we're doing," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said on Sunday. "Try to pitch him in two- or three-inning segments where we're not going to use him the next day and/or two days, and then have him available to hit when needed. For the most part, the thing we haven't done is warm him up knowing he's going to pitch the next inning, then come down from the bullpen and go into the on-deck circle. It's probably not that big of a deal. We may eventually get into that situation.

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"We don't have any thoughts or plans yet to even discuss doing anything with him except what we're doing now. We're not going to look to have him start a game at something other than pitcher.

During Saturday's 12-3 win, Lorenzen slugged a pinch-hit grand slam against Brewers reliever Jacob Barnes in an eight-run seventh inning. During Friday's 8-2 loss -- in which he pitched three innings in relief -- he hit a solo homer against starter Chase Anderson in the sixth inning. Lorenzen now has five career home runs.

One advantage Riggleman has on days Lorenzen does pitch is he doesn't have to double-switch to avoid using his bat. And the option of letting him hit more than once is possible, too.

"The other day when we took the starter out and he was hitting second in the lineup, that's the kind of thing we would be comfortable with," Riggleman said. "If he comes up again, OK. But if he comes again, that doesn't mean he's going to hit either. We still might pinch-hit for him, which we did the other day."

Don't expect to see Lorenzen -- who played outfield in college -- to be used as a two-way player like the Angels have done with Shohei Ohtani. On Wednesday, Riggleman noted he was open to the idea of having Lorenzen pitch and move to the outfield for a batter or two and return to pitching, but that's not currently in the works.

"I am adapting and learning, and as I see things happening and things occur, I would be open moving in that direction if it presented itself," Riggleman said. "You see the success some teams are having with it. We certainly are not going to be against anything like that."

Riggleman could also use Lorenzen's speed to have him pinch-run, something former manager Bryan Price had done in past seasons. On days he's not in the bullpen, the right-hander turns Riggleman's four-man bench into a more typical five-man bench.

"That helps a lot, knowing the days he is not going to pitch that you have him and actually have five there," he said. "The thing we have to stay away from [is] Lorenzen has power, and that is the thing. With anyone who has power, you have to remind them to use the middle of the field. We need you to have a good at-bat. We are not looking for you to hit a home run."

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