CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 30: Michael Lorenzen #21 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a grand slam home run while pinch hitting in the seventh inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park on June 30, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by /Getty Images)
Photo: Joe Robbins
Photo: Joe Robbins

Homer-happy Reds reliever plans to keep same approach at the plate

Lorenzen also hit a grand slam in college at Cal State Fullerton and one in Double-A. However, hitting one at the big-league level, as he did Saturday against the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park, has to rise to the top of his growing list of hitting accomplishments.

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Lorenzen has made one of the most difficult things in sports — hitting a baseball — look easy in recent weeks. In his last five at-bats, he has singled, homered, walked, homered and homered. He explained his approach Monday before the start of a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox.

“What I’m doing is taking enough swings to keep my swing but not taking too many to where I start thinking, if that makes sense,” Lorenzen said. “It’s a tough balance to have, and I think that’s where I’ve benefited. I think it will benefit me with pitching, too, to take that same approach, to be honest.”

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Lorenzen has performed well on the mound. He’s 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in 15 appearances and 23 1/3 innings. At the plate, he’s 4-for-6. He’s 3-for-4 as a pinch-hitter. He’s the first Reds pitcher to hit three home runs in a season since Micah Owings in 2009.

Lorenzen even has the hardest-hit ball by any Reds batter this season. His pinch-hit single on June 7 against Rockies pitcher Tyler Anderson came off the bat at 116.5 miles per hour.

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Lorenzen plans to keep the same approach, meaning he’s not going to take extra batting practice just because he might get more opportunities in the future.

“I’m learning a lot from the way I’m hitting,” Lorenzen said. “In college, it was the same. I was a center fielder, and pitching I didn’t care about. I just came in — and it’s kind of like the hitting side of things right now — there was no pressure. Just go in and throw the ball as hard as I can and get outs, and I was successful. When I was hitting in college, I was in the cage all day and all night, working hard and over-thinking. It’s kind of flipped on me at the major league level.”

Notes: The Reds acquired Red Sox minor league outfielder Lorenzo Cedrola in exchange for international signing bonus pool space on Monday. Cedrola, 20, was hitting .318 with Single-A Greenville.