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Reds DFA Duke, promote Herget from Louisville

@m_sheldon
July 1, 2019

CINCINNATI -- Veteran left-handed reliever Zach Duke was the sole free agent the Reds signed to a Major League contract in the offseason. On Monday, Cincinnati announced that Duke was designated for assignment and reliever Jimmy Herget was recalled from Triple-A Louisville. Duke, 36, who was in his 15th big

CINCINNATI -- Veteran left-handed reliever Zach Duke was the sole free agent the Reds signed to a Major League contract in the offseason. On Monday, Cincinnati announced that Duke was designated for assignment and reliever Jimmy Herget was recalled from Triple-A Louisville.

Duke, 36, who was in his 15th big league season and second stint with the Reds, didn’t get much traction as he went 3-1 with a 5.01 ERA in 30 appearances in 2019. He was signed to a one-year, $2 million contract on Feb. 11.

“First of all, it’s tough losing Zach,” manager David Bell said. “I’ve known him for a long time and he became a big part of this team on and off the field in the clubhouse. He’s had a great career to this point. He was a big part of our team. He’ll be missed in a lot of ways.”

Duke’s final appearance for the Reds was during Saturday’s 6-0 loss to the Cubs. He was brought in during the eighth inning to face one left-handed batter, Anthony Rizzo, and Duke walked him on four pitches to load the bases. Jared Hughes replaced Duke and he gave up a grand slam to Javier Baez.

With Duke off the roster and Wandy Peralta on the 10-day injured list with a right hip flexor strain, the Reds are down to one lefty reliever in Amir Garrett Another lefty, Cody Reed, is on Louisville’s injured list. Peralta is scheduled to throw in a side bullpen session on Tuesday.

“It was a bit of a luxury when we had three [lefties]. There are teams that don’t have any,” Bell said.

Herget gets first callup

Herget, who was added to the Reds’ 40-man roster during the offseason, received word of his first big league promotion early Monday afternoon. Louisville manager Jody Davis did what a lot of Triple-A skippers often do with such momentous news. Davis tried to trick the right-hander.

“Right when I got in the locker room today, Jody pulled me in and told me some stories about how people were upset with me, and this and that,” Herget explained. “[It] kind of put me on edge. Then he said I’d been traded. Then he said, ‘Actually they’re playing in Cincinnati tonight. Maybe you should hustle up there.’ I realized once he said he didn’t know what team it was, ‘I think this might be happening right now.’”

Herget, 25, was 1-4 with a 3.58 ERA with Louisville and he led the team with 33 appearances. Following a rough April, when he had a 5.68 ERA in 11 appearances, Herget found his footing again with the aid of pitching coach Jeff Fassero and posted a 2.58 ERA over his last 22 games.

“I was walking too many guys,” Herget said. “Then I had a meeting with Jeff and he said, ‘Bear down, you’ve got to pitch.’ Over the last month and a half, I did what I had to do. The results have shown it.”

Herget pitches with a sidearm delivery, but he can offer multiple arm angles that keeps hitters off-balance. It will give the Reds' bullpen an option of a newer look.

“Typically, and what I saw in Spring Training, there is a little deception there because of how he throws,” Bell said. “It is a little bit unique and different from other guys. The report I got from Triple-A, too, is the deception has shown up in the results. That’s been a big part of his success.

“A lot of times, guys like him can be tougher on right-handed hitters and I think that has shown.”

Lorenzen use as a hitter slows

During Spring Training, the Reds looked at reliever Michael Lorenzen as a two-way player because he can also hit -- with six career home runs -- run and play the outfield well. Lorenzen has logged 14 innings as an outfielder over nine games.

Lately, Lorenzen has been used sparingly as a hitter and outfielder. His last plate appearance was on June 21 at Milwaukee, when he hit a ninth-inning single during an 11-7 win. He was last in a game as an outfielder on June 2, vs. the Nationals, after he notched two outs as a pitcher.

“The other side of the ball has slowed down quite a bit,” Lorenzen said. “Of course, I miss it, but I will do whatever is best for the team. We don’t want to force anything or do it just to do it. I take BP every day, so I’m prepared still.”

Lorenzen has been strong out of the bullpen this season and he entered Monday with a 3.61 ERA in 38 appearances and a team-leading 42 1/3 innings. He’s also notched five saves, including three since June 17, when closer Raisel Iglesias was used earlier in the game or not at all.

“I haven’t been throwing multiple innings nearly as much this year, so I don’t have as many days where I’m down [from pitching] after three innings and 40 pitches or two innings and 35 pitches,” Lorenzen 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.