The Reds will place right-hander Michael Lorenzen on the 10-day injured list prior to tomorrow’s game against the Mets, Cincinnati manager David Bell told reporters (including The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans). Lorenzen suffered a right hamstring strain while running the bases as an automatic runner in last night’s 7-4 extra-innings loss to the Brewers.
The severity of the strain isn’t known, though it’s still a terrible break for Lorenzen to again be sidelined after his very first game of the season. Lorenzen suffered a shoulder strain during Spring Training that was slow to heal, and he spent the entire first half of the season on the IL. In his first game back, he flashed his two-way skills by tossing a scoreless inning of relief and then moving to play right field for the next frame (he struck out in his lone plate appearance).
Lorenzen’s injury marks yet another setback for a Reds bullpen that has struggled all season, as Lorenzen’s return was seen as a big upgrade to the relief corps. Cincinnati’s front office was likely going to pursue relievers at the trade deadline even with Lorenzen back and healthy, and the club’s search will only intensify now that the veteran will miss some more time.
In the bigger picture, Lorenzen’s hopes for a strong platform year in advance of free agency have taken another hit. Heading into the season, Lorenzen was aiming to win a job in Cincinnati’s rotation to further enhance his future free agent value by re-establishing himself as a starting pitcher. His bid was put on hold by his shoulder injury, of course, and the Reds planned to use him strictly as a reliever (and part-time outfielder for late-game maneuverability purposes) during the second half. Should Lorenzen’s hamstring problem linger long enough that 2021 becomes something of a lost season for the right-hander, his hopes at landing even a multi-year deal could be in jeopardy, though he’ll certainly still get attention based on his solid track record prior to 2021.