Notes: Lorenzen, rotation plans, Gutierrez

March 11th, 2021

In his second appearance (first start) of Spring Training on Wednesday, rotation candidate Michael Lorenzen pitched 2 1/3 innings and allowed three earned runs with no walks and three strikeouts. Lorenzen gave up a booming home run to left field vs. Jorge Soler to lead off the second inning in the Reds' 9-3 loss to the Royals at Surprise Stadium.

“I felt pretty good other than Soler. I don’t know how he hit that ball. I don’t even think it was a strike,” Lorenzen said. “I felt good, especially to the lefties, getting the cutter in and getting the changeup going. I didn’t throw as many breaking balls as I would have liked today. But I think it was just because they had so many lefties in the lineup. It was good. I had to pitch out of some situations and go for some swing and miss.”

During his first appearance Friday vs. Arizona, Lorenzen gave up three earned runs and three hits over 1 2/3 innings, but he said that he was throwing at 90 percent effort just to get a feel for his pitches.

Although the radar gun at the ballpark Wednesday was not operating correctly, Lorenzen felt that he was closer to 100 percent effort vs. Kansas City.

“Obviously, we’re conditioning the arm and making sure it’s a steady path forward and upwards. I feel good about it,” Lorenzen said.

Bell pleased with rotation battle

Lorenzen is competing against Tejay Antone, Jeff Hoffman, Wade Miley and José De León for a rotation spot. Lorenzen would return to the bullpen if he doesn’t get to start in the regular season. Two weeks into Cactus League play, Reds manager David Bell feels good about the starting depth.

“Our plan is to go into the season with five starters. I feel good about more [guys] than that,” Bell said. “Early in the season, there are off days. You probably don’t even have to go into the season with five starters, you could get by with four. I don’t think that’s what we will do.

“Because we will have to decide on five, I think we’re going to have guys that are built up that can help us out of the bullpen having been built up and being able to go multiple innings.”

Bell viewed Miley as having a good chance for one of the starting spots because of his track record despite his being limited to six underwhelming games last season in the first year of his two-year, $15 million contract.

“The big thing with Wade is making sure he's healthy and he's able to stand up to the season,” Bell said. “If he's healthy, this guy can pitch. There's no question there.”

Gutierrez looking good

Right-handed pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez was impressive with two scoreless innings during the Reds' 5-3 loss Tuesday to the Dodgers. Gutierrez struck out four, including three called strikeouts on breaking balls in the top of the first inning.

“I was really focused out there, especially in the bullpen,” Gutierrez said Wednesday via translator Jorge Merlos. “I saw how the winds were blowing out to right-center field, so I knew that if I left anything up in the zone, it was going to be out of here on a pop fly. I was really happy about what my start was like, especially everything I saw in the bullpen preparing for the time. It was really good.”

Gutierrez, 25, was 6-11 with a 6.04 ERA in 27 starts during the 2019 season with Triple-A Louisville. He missed last season because he was serving an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. There are 18 games left to serve in his suspension.

During the offseason, Gutierrez pitched in instructional league and winter ball in the Dominican Republic, where he had a 3.71 ERA in five starts for Licey.

“Once I got there, I was very focused. I was trying really hard to pick up victories there, too,” Gutierrez said. “I was chasing for a championship out there, because that's obviously what we're trying to do in the Dominican League.”

Injury report

• Reds left-hander Amir Garrett has yet to pitch in a Spring Training game because of a sore left forearm. Garrett has been throwing on flat ground and is scheduled to have a bullpen session Thursday.

• Infield candidate Max Schrock exited Wednesday’s game in the top of the second inning with a right calf injury. Schrock appeared to be hurt after he hit a single to left field and he departed after reaching first base.

• Right-handed pitching prospect Ryan Hendrix has been dealing with an intercostal muscle strain. Hendrix, who has a 4.50 ERA in two spring appearances, resumed his throwing program Wednesday.

‘B’ game vs. Cleveland

On Wednesday morning, the Reds played a five-inning ‘B’ game against Cleveland and lost, 7-1. No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, Hunter Greene, started and gave up one earned run and two hits with one strikeout. Top prospect Nick Lodolo worked one scoreless inning with two strikeouts.

Aristides Aquino hit a first-inning homer for Cincinnati. Then, Aquino entered the game vs. the Royals and doubled in the eighth inning.

Bell excited to see La Russa

The Reds will face the White Sox on Thursday, which will give Bell a chance to work opposite of their manager, Tony La Russa. The 76-year-old Hall of Fame skipper returned to the White Sox this offseason and used to manage Bell with the Cardinals from 1996-98.

“I was happy for him, he’s obviously very passionate about what he does. It’s really cool he’s going to get another opportunity to do that,” Bell said. “I was actually thinking about this morning how amazing that will be to actually get an opportunity to manage against him -- someone I have a tremendous amount of respect for, all the success he’s had. It’s pretty incredible he’s still able to do it.”