Price talks Stephenson, Lorenzen
*One of the Reds pitching prospects that will be interesting to watch this spring is RHP Robert Stephenson. The 21-year-old was a first-round Draft pick in 2011. Currently in his first big league camp, he could be a factor in the Reds rotation as soon as 2015, if not sooner.
Manager Bryan Price likes what he has seen from and heard about Stephenson, who reached Double-A Pensacola last season.
“I did see him pitch in instructional league his first year, 2011,” Price said. “Certainly he was very impressive and he’s taken the game to a completely different level from the last time I saw him pitch in instructional league to the type of season he had last year and the types of bullpens he’s throwing now. It’s my first chance to see him do the PFP stuff and what kind of athlete he is. I have a lot of confidence in our player development group because they rave about it – not just his stuff but his work ethic and commitment to the craft.”
Some of the developments from Monday:
*RHP Michael Lorenzen, the 38th overall pick and a compensation round selection in last year’s Draft, got a helping hand from Tony Cingrani during Sunday’s workout as pitchers worked on fielding and covering first base.
“He got a little bit astray on the drill and it was great when I saw Tony Cingrani remind him ‘hey, on this play you want to stay on a straight line,” Price said. “‘You’re covering first base. Stay on the straight line and don’t deviate from the line to first base on this play.’ Then the next three or four of them was ‘boom, boom, boom,’ perfect. He’s an athlete learning to pitch who is making really quick adjustments. I’m really happy with him.”
*Price doesn’t expect the organization will let Lorenzen return to his roots as an outfielder and hitter. But that doesn’t mean he won’t get to handle a bat anymore.
“We don’t want to get too far removed and deprive him of his athleticism,” Price said. “We want him to do things that are athletic. We want him to stay in touch with that. We haven’t defined yet if he’s going to be a starting pitcher or a relief pitcher in the big leagues. But right now, he’s going to get a lot of innings. He’s going to have to handle the bat as he gets to the higher levels. We want him to maintain those skills, just like we’ve used [Mike] Leake in the past as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner. Those are options that we could look to utilize when Michael gets to the big leagues.”
*LF Ryan Ludwick reported early to camp today and said his surgically-repaired right shoulder was 100 percent.
“I got cleared to lift upper body weights Nov. 6. It feels good to be strong again,” Ludwick said.
*Full squad workouts begin on Wednesday. Price expected pitchers to throw live BP to hitters on Thursday and Friday.
*One of the interesting, but probably not surprising things, to come from talking with Homer Bailey today: Not only does he not own a suit, Bailey doesn’t own a tie, either. Bailey was thinking about buying both to be ready for his arbitration hearing on Thursday. Of course, that probably won’t be needed now that he is close to signing a multi-year contract.