Calendar year 2021 has not been kind to Michael Lorenzen.
He entered the preseason discussions as a legitimate candidate for a spot in the Cincinnati Reds rotation, one that seemed vital to the team’s potential success this year after the departures of Anthony DeSclafani and that one giant asshole in free agency. A shoulder issue derailed those hopes in spring training, however, and setbacks pushed his return to the Reds not only until mid-July, but also in a different role - as a reliever.
Fortunately, though, the rest of the Reds have picked up the pieces while waiting for Lorenzen’s return, and he’s set to rejoin the beleaguered bullpen with plenty of season left to still make a major impact. The Reds activated him today, officially, moving Alex Blandino to the 60-day IL in a corresponding roster move.
Welcome back, Michael Lorenzen!— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 16, 2021
The #Reds today activated Lorenzen (right shoulder strain) from the 60-day injured list and transferred to the 60-day injured list IF Alex Blandino (broken right hand). pic.twitter.com/twMmI8mjaB
It’s Mike’s final year under team control, to boot, so this is his stretch-run to show the entire game that he’s not only healthy, but still capable of being a potent arm on the mound for the next few years, too. And while that won’t be as a starter for the full season anymore, that’s still a plenty solid platform on which to impress, something the Reds bullpen will be counting on as it tries to weather the injury and understaffed storm.
Lucas Sims and Tejay Antone are still sidelined with arm issues, of course, which has thrust a bunch of names that weren’t in the mix for serious leverage innings this time a year ago into big, big spots. Manager David Bell mentioned today that the more reasonable timeline for their returns will be ‘August,’ as C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic relayed.
So, Lorenzen is going to immediately get big spots. Considering the team’s relief ERA of 5.15 sits as the fourth worst in the game (behind cellar-dwellers Arizona, Detroit, and Colorado), that’s hopefully enough to give it a boost until the front office can find other ways to augment the group.