Had the duo been unavailable, the Reds would have gone into the game with just two bench players in catcher Devin Mesoraco and utility man Patrick Kivlehan.
“Don’t forget about Lorenzen,” Price said, referring to relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen, a former outfield prospect who has a pinch-hit home run among his six at-bats this season.
“I know it would probably scare our front office and ownership to death possibly, but he’s an athlete and he works on it,” Price said. “He takes balls in center field every single day. He hits with the regular batting practice group often, does all of his bunting stuff. So I don’t worry about him getting hurt running the bases, taking an at bat. I would have the same feeling if he ended up in the outfield. He’s an athlete.
“I think we’re guilty of putting most of these guys in a bubble anyway, trying to protect them from injury in a game where you can’t protect them from injury,” Price added. “We’re trying to win games here. If the goal was simply to finish the season healthy, we’d be failing at that miserably, and we’re trying to do everything we can to keep them healthy. So I think we’ve just got to let them go out there and play.”
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Homer healing: Homer Bailey threw his scheduled three innings Saturday at extended spring training.
“It was a little challenging yesterday because the field was really wet or the mound was really wet,” Price said. “He had a couple of challenges to get through, but he got through it fine.”
Price said the next step for Bailey, who is recovering from February surgery to remove bone spurs from his right elbow, will be for him to pitch for one of the club’s minor league affiliates June 9.
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“He’ll stay in Goodyear to throw his bullpen, and then we’ll get him settled in here with a minor-league assignment coming up soon,” Price said. “I’m fairly certain it will be (June 9).”
With the Dayton Dragons on the road June 9, Triple-A Louisville is the likely destination for Bailey as the Bats play host to Toledo.
Debut delayed: The Reds optioned right-hander pitcher Jackson Stephens to Louisville on Sunday when they activated starting pitcher Amir Garrett from the disabled list.
The Reds called up Stephens on May 30, but he did not make an appearance, which would have been his MLB debut, in four games.
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“He came up really as a security blanket for us if we had any issues,” Price said. “We had the issues potentially after Game 1 there in Toronto where we beat up all of our reserves, all of our length guys were used. We were really limited. So that really was important to have someone like Jackson here with us until we got whole again.”
Price had Stephens warmed up Saturday and was prepared to bring him in to pitch the seventh with the team down 5-1, but the Reds scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth, resulting in Price turning to his regular relievers.
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Up next: The Reds open a four-game series against the Cardinals on Monday, with right-hander Asher Wojciechowski (1-0, 5.63 ERA) set to oppose St. Louis righty Carlos Martinez (4-4, 3.08).
Dating back to Sept. 1, the Reds and Cardinals have alternated wins in their last 11 games, which is the longest such streak between the two teams.
The Reds won the most recent meeting 5-4 in St. Louis on April 30.