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Reds may skip Lorenzen's next start

Rookie righty in a rut, facing innings limitation

SAN DIEGO -- Michael Lorenzen is still listed as the Reds' starting pitcher Sunday against the Dodgers, but it remains uncertain whether he will take that turn. There are some factors in play beyond his recent performances.

Lorenzen gave up seven earned runs and seven hits over 1 1/3 innings in his latest start, an 11-6 defeat to the Padres on Tuesday. Since his last victory June 21, Lorenzen is 0-6 with an 8.49 ERA, including a 12.57 ERA in five second-half starts.

"We're trying to figure out what's the best way to manage these last innings that he has," Reds manager Bryan Price said on Wednesday. "We knew this going into the season based on whether he was pitching effectively and pitching here, that inevitably he would run out of innings if we just kept giving him starts. I think at some point in time, he'll need to transition into the bullpen."

Lorenzen, 23, is in only his second full professional season as a starter. Last year at Double-A Pensacola, he threw 120 2/3 innings. Price wanted the right-hander to not only build up his innings total for the season, but to get used to pitching deeper into September.

Between Triple-A Louisville and the Majors this season, Lorenzen has pitched 109 2/3 innings. Price normally doesn't make innings limits for his pitchers public, but revealed Lorenzen's cap for 2015 is at 150-155.

"It's a balancing act at this point in time right now," Price said. "He's got a lot of room for growth and need for growth. We've asked a lot out of this kid. … this is his second [season as a starter] and he's had some really good moments, even though he's in a bit of a down spell right now. … but he's got some work to do. There's a lot of development that needs to take place in order for him to become the pitcher we know he'll be.

"I don't want guys thinking they're near the end or shutting it down, but he's at such an extreme because he's so limited in professional experience and innings, that you're not going to see him pitch 210. We knew that wasn't going to happen. I don't want to be coy because his situation is right out there."

Also known is the rotation is comprised of all rookies. Anthony DeSclafani, who pitched 162 1/3 innings at multiple levels last season, is not nearing a limit and should go the distance for 2015. He's more the exception than the rule.

"We have a lot of young guys in our system that if they get up in September, are in kind of the same situation," Price said. "This isn't like we've got a bunch of veteran guys that have thrown 200 innings before that are in Triple-A. It's going to be an interesting challenge in September, but we'll get through it."

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