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Notes: Lorenzen's knee; Votto's bat; Reds' health

March 11, 2020

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds reliever Michael Lorenzen has looked normal on the mound and has had a strong Spring Training. But Lorenzen hadn’t been doing much with the other side of his game -- hitting and running the bases. Lorenzen, who also plays the outfield and pinch-hits for Cincinnati, has

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds reliever Michael Lorenzen has looked normal on the mound and has had a strong Spring Training. But Lorenzen hadn’t been doing much with the other side of his game -- hitting and running the bases.

Lorenzen, who also plays the outfield and pinch-hits for Cincinnati, has been dealing with a minor injury to his left knee. Wearing shorts, he was wearing KT tape over that knee.

“I have some patellar tendinitis that we’re getting over,” Lorenzen said on Tuesday. “It’s doing a lot better. I was cleared to hit [Monday]. It’s never bothered me hitting anyway. They just wanted to take the workload off of it. It doesn’t bother me other than a full-on sprint. We just want to make sure that it’s fully taken care of, which it’s getting there.”

The good news for both the Reds and Lorenzen is that he doesn’t favor the knee while delivering a pitch.

Lorenzen pitched a shutout fifth inning in Tuesday's split-squad game against the D-backs, allowing two hits and walking one. Over five appearances and six innings this spring, Lorenzen has a 1.50 ERA and has struck out eight batters with four walks.

Votto feeling good
Reds first baseman Joey Votto entered Tuesday tied for the Major League spring lead with nine walks. But following his 0-for-3 performance during the game against Arizona, he is 2-for-21 (.095) for the spring.

Votto, who is coming off the worst season of his career, remained optimistic about his preparation for the regular season.

“Things are starting to feel better, and I’m starting to feel more like myself,” Votto said. “I’m starting to get good swings off. I feel good about it.”

Players taking precautions
Reds players have made some adjustments to their regular daily routines in light of the spread of the coronavirus disease.

Lorenzen has avoided handshakes or fist bumps and is among those who touches feet with someone -- essentially a foot bump.

“I’m washing my hands especially using our facilities and using the gym; everyone is touching the same things,” Lorenzen said. “We put a ton of work in during the offseason. You don’t want to come in and get sick and lose everything that you gained during the offseason -- four or five months of dedication and sacrifice. That’s really one of the main things that you have to take this seriously because if you do get sick, you can lose everything that you’ve gained.”

Because much of the team contracted the flu in September, stricter measures were already in place to prevent illness. The team has informed players not to come to the ballpark if they are sick, and it has stressed the importance of hand washing with bilingual signs throughout the facility.

Votto has not altered his life too much but is certainly mindful of the coronavirus impact.

“Yeah, but I’m not in China right now and I’m not in Italy right now,” Votto said. “It certainly could get to that point where we do take that sort of approach or we do take extra precaution. A lot of people are scared, and justifiably so. I mean, 100 years ago we had the Spanish flu. It’s a very contagious -- the coronavirus is very contagious. It’s a very contagious thing. I don’t want to start speculating about that. It’s something to be taken seriously.”

Lorenzen would like to maintain player interaction with fans, as much as possible, even if it means getting a little creative.

“The fans want to see you go out and perform at an elite level. I can’t do that if I am home sick for a week or week and a half,” Lorenzen said. “You think about your family as well. I don’t want to bring anything home to my family. All of these things go on, and if I’m sick, I don’t want to give it to the fan, either. You don’t want to be the person spreading it around. All of these things come to mind for sure."

Reds' statement on Opening Day
The Reds released the following statement on Tuesday afternoon, regarding comments made by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.

“The Reds are monitoring this evolving situation. We are in daily contact with Major League Baseball, which is working closely with the CDC, other national public health organizations and government agencies. Additionally, we are working with our local health agencies and officials in Ohio and Arizona to ensure the safety and well-being of our fans, players and staff.

"We are enforcing Major League Baseball’s policy restricting clubhouse access to non-essential personnel. And, in conjunction with this protective measure, we are asking our players to refrain from traditional fan interactions such as handshakes, autographs and other personal contact for the balance of spring training. It is still to be determined if we will extend these policies into the regular season.

"In a press conference today, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine recommended the cancellation of parades and outdoor gatherings taking place around outdoor sporting events in Ohio. We appreciate the dialogue we have had with the Governor's office and expect to stay in close contact with him and his staff. At this time, the Reds and Neil Luken, Findlay Market Parade chairperson, are not cancelling any events associated with Opening Day. We will continue to evaluate the situation as Opening Day approaches.

"We thank our fans for joining our players and staff in adhering to safe hygiene practices and appreciate their cooperation.”

Opening Day is March 26 against the Cardinals.

First spring cuts
Following Tuesday’s game, the Reds made their first cuts from the spring roster by re-assigning 11 players to their Minor League camp. They were right-handed pitchers Tejay Antone, David Carpenter, Ryan Hendrix and Tony Santillan, left-handed pitcher and No. 1 prospect Nick Lodolo, left-hander Josh Smith, catcher Chris Okey, infielders Jonathan India and Blake Trahan and outfielders Stuart Fairchild and Boog Powell.

Up next
The Reds will have their second and final off-day on Wednesday. When they return to the field on Thursday at 4:10 p.m. ET vs. the Mariners in Peoria, Sonny Gray is scheduled to make the start. Gray’s third start of spring on Saturday vs. Kansas City was lackluster, as he allowed three earned runs and five hits over 2 1/3 innings.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook.