GOODYEAR, AZ — When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. When life handed major league baseball a stoppage of spring training, Michael Lorenzen made it into his own spring training.
The ultimate “glass is half full” optimist, Lorenzen is taking the delay of the season due to the coronavirus pandemic in stride.
“It’s almost like an extended off-season a little bit, so I’m taking that approach. There’s still things I need to work on, things that I can work on. I don’t watch much TV either way, so it’ll be all right,” said Lorenzen.
The Cincinnati Reds’ right-handed pitcher whose strong hitting ability has earned him some playing time in the outfield as well is moving forward and not dwelling on the negative.
“We’re going to go through stuff. There’s always going to be different perspectives that you can choose to look at it and choose to go about your business in that way or you can let it bring you down,” said Lorenzen.
“I’m not going to let it bring me down. Obviously, we want to be extremely smart. We want to take this seriously and that’s what I’m going to do. But I’m also going to take advantage of it.”
Major League Baseball has closed its spring training complexes to fans and halted games. Some players have remained at the spring training site to work out on their own or in small groups. Others have gone home and will wait on the call to return.
Lorenzen is taking a pro-active approach that includes the Reds’ training camp site as well as his home in Kentucky.
In fact, some public gymnasiums are closed which could cause a problem for players who want to conduct workouts on their own.
Again, Lorenzen is unaffected.
“A lot of my workouts I can be extremely creative with. In Kentucky, I have a gym in my basement so I’ve learned not to go to a gym in order to stay in shape and to get done what I need to get done,” said Lorenzen.
“So, I have a place here in Arizona I have some area where I can use to stay in shape and work on things that I need to work on. I’m not really worried about that.”
Even though he is adjusting as well as can be expected to the stoppage of play, Lorenzen does admit there is a different feeling.
But he’s not thinking about it.
“It’s different, but honestly, I’m just going with the flow. We have no idea how long it may be, so you just have to take the perspective to be flexible and go with the flow. It does feel different, but at the same time in my mind, I’m trying to treat it as it’s no different. It’s just normal. I get to come in and get some work in and get a lot better. And of course, there are some things I need to fine tune before we come back in and ramp things up.”
Lorenzen said no one he knows has had the coronavirus but he said his mother works at downtown Disney and he has been concerned for her health.
“She’s around a lot of people, so I’ve kind of been advising her to stay home,” said Lorenzen.
“One of my brother’s schools for his kids is still open. We’re still trying to figure out what’s best to do like everyone else. They closed down Disneyland but we don’t know about downtown Disney, so we’re trying to get her to stay home and stay away from that high volume of people that have traveled from all over the world. You have those problems like anyone else.”
For now, Lorenzen is still going through some his individual workouts at the training camp including using a plyo ball. However, he said he can do the same workout at his home.
“It’s kind of nice because you don’t need a throwing partner. It’s not totally necessary unless you’re working on a feel for certain pitches and stuff. In order to keep the arm in shape and the body in shape and throwing light, you don’t necessarily need a throwing partner,” said Lorenzen.
Talks are ongoing between the Major League Baseball Players Union, commissioner Rob Manford and other baseball officials. Lorenzen said it’s tough being in the state of limbo.
“We’re kind of in a waiting period right now. We’re going to see what happens with the union and the commissioner and then that’s when guys will start contacting each other a little bit more once you figure out some more information about what’s going on,” said Lorenzen.
With the extra free time, Lorenzen plans to have do some extra work on playing the outfield and his hitting.
“I’m going to take advantage of the time for sure with everything. That’s one of the things I’ll take advantage of for sure and get it right,” said Lorenzen.
While many players might be unhappy with the no timetable on a re-start, Lorenzen said it won’t matter to him. He said that he won’t skip a beat with the stoppage of play. In fact, he even has a contingency plan.
“I can only speak for myself. I can only speak for myself, but I don’t feel like I need to start it over again. I’m going to be doing everything I can to continue to stay in shape. I don’t have any more information. I only have ideas in my mind that I’ve put together based off certain things that may happen,” said Lorenzen.
“If I have to go to an empty field and have a hitter stand in and pay for a catcher and pay for a hitter to come out. And I go through a whole routine where I catch and I warm up in the bullpen and I come out and throw 20 pitches and stay on schedule, that’s what I would do. I’d get my body to stay in shape for back-to-back days.”
And maybe when his workouts are finished each day, Michael Lorenzen will lie back and have a glass of lemonade.