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Lorenzen tweaks mechanics in rotation bid

MLB.com @m_sheldon

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- As he spent the second half of 2017 getting hit around and frustrated with the results, Reds pitcher Michael Lorenzen had his moment of reckoning. Lorenzen's instincts for pitching had taken him as far as he could go.

It was time to make changes.

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- As he spent the second half of 2017 getting hit around and frustrated with the results, Reds pitcher Michael Lorenzen had his moment of reckoning. Lorenzen's instincts for pitching had taken him as far as he could go.

It was time to make changes.

View Full Game Coverage

"The whole second half last year, I was sore -- a lot sorer than I'd like to be," said Lorenzen, who posted a 2.93 ERA in the first half and a 6.32 ERA in the second half. "I take really good care of my body, and I thought I shouldn't be this sore or take this long to recover. It was, 'Let's figure this out. It's got to be mechanics.'"

Lorenzen, a reliever the past two seasons, is trying to make a bid for the rotation this spring. After a good first outing, he didn't fare well in Thursday's 8-7 walk-off win over the White Sox at Goodyear Ballpark. The right-hander pitched 1 2/3 innings, allowing five earned runs on five hits with two walks, three strikeouts and a wild pitch.

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Chicago scored four runs in the second and forced him out before his scheduled three innings. Lorenzen said he lacked fastball command.

"It's my best pitch. When you're not able to command it, you have to rely on your secondary stuff," Lorenzen said. "I need to command the fastball."

Now, Lorenzen will go back to the video and see what in his pitching mechanics caused the command issue.

"I just know it wasn't right," Lorenzen said. "I'll have to go back and see why it wasn't right."

Following his second half, Lorenzen gained newfound perspective on the importance of fastball command and mechanics.

"It's the combination of the mentality, my instincts and now a solid foundation of what every piece of my body should do during the delivery -- from toes to fingertips," Lorenzen said.

To get himself ready to be a starter, Lorenzen knew his arm wouldn't hold up if he stayed with what he had been doing.

"It was as if I was going from first gear to second gear to fourth gear, to third gear, to fifth gear. Something was off, and I'm not driving the car properly. But I'm still driving a good car," Lorenzen explained. "Now, it's my arm is coming along for the ride, and I'm not generating all of my power from my arm."

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Lorenzen, 26, was a college outfielder and part-time closer at Cal State Fullerton when he was selected with the 38th overall pick in the 2013 Draft. He admitted that he threw like an outfielder and relied on his competitive drive and instincts to beat opponents in the Minor Leagues.

"He was so quick to work his way through our system that there are some certain things I don't think he was really able to attain through the process," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Once he understands his delivery, he can always work to find his way back."

Now, the question remains as to whether Lorenzen lands a job in the rotation. When Price handicapped his contenders for the vacant fifth spot as camp opened, Lorenzen was way down the list, while others like Sal Romano and Robert Stephenson had the inside track.

If Lorenzen doesn't get a starter's job, he would return to the bullpen. Price didn't believe it would be difficult to transition him back to relief work. But he also wasn't counting on that happening soon.

"I think he's going to find a way to compete, stay in this thing and be a consideration throughout the course of spring," Price said.

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