2/16/2014 3:37 P.M. ET
Price believes Leake can continue to improve
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Both Arizona residents, Reds manager Bryan Price and starting pitcher Mike Leake met for lunch over the winter about what comes next.
Leake had a career year in 2013 and enters 2014 without worrying about making the big league club for the first time after four years of battling. Price made it clear to Leake he believed he could achieve more success.
"You can really look at 2013 for Leaker and go, 'Boy, he's arrived. He's a guy now. We should be able to expect this.' My feel was to forget the expectations," Price said on Sunday. "Let's work and continue to strive for greatness. Be as good as you can be. There are no limitations on his ability to be a guy we feel as good about as anybody in our rotation every fifth day when he takes the ball."
Leake, 26, was 14-7 with a 3.37 ERA in 31 starts and 192 1/3 innings -- all career bests.
In 2010 camp as a non-roster invitee, the 2009 first-round Draft pick surprised by making the team and skipping the Minor Leagues. Because of the team's depth, he remained an underdog in roster bids in both 2011 and '12. Last spring when closer Aroldis Chapman was possibly going to move into the rotation, Leake was viewed as the possible odd man out.
Price doesn't believe that Leake will ease up, nor will he need extra motivation.
"He's never been a guy that's backed off of the effort level," Price said. "His preparation has always been excellent. I think he's fully committed. He's a guy who looks forward to more responsibility. I think he's going to embrace this."
Lorenzen soaking up first Spring Training experience
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds pitching prospect Michael Lorenzen's career has seemingly been moving at light speed. For his first-ever pro Spring Training, the 22-year-old Lorenzen is in the big league camp as a non-roster player.
"It's been exciting, that's for sure," Lorenzen said on Sunday. "The Reds have put me in a really good position. I'm grateful so I'm going to give them the best of my ability and put 100 percent into everything they tell me to do."
Lorenzen was the 38th overall selection in the competitive balance portion of the first round in the 2013 Draft. He pitched at four different levels last season and reached Double-A and then learned how to become a starting pitcher in the Arizona Fall League after the season.
"The biggest thing is just learning how to be a pitcher and not just go up and throw," Lorenzen said. "I think it's really good for me to be in a clubhouse like this where you have guys like [Mat] Latos, [Tony] Cingrani and [Mike] Leake. All of these guys have so much knowledge. They've been pitching their whole lives and I've been pitching for two years."
Throughout high school and his first year of college for Cal-Fullerton, Lorenzen was an outfielder. He added pitching his sophomore year in 2012 and became the team's closer.
"Everybody knew I had a good arm, but I never pursued pitching," Lorenzen said. "We thought that if I closed at Fullerton, we had a better shot at winning. I told them I would do it. It ended up working out."
A two-pitch pitcher as a college reliever, Lorenzen began adding secondary pitches since turning professional. He developed his changeup in the Minors last year while posting a 3.00 ERA in 22 games. This spring, he is working on a slider.
"I've been working with Cingrani at playing catch and making my slider more consistent," Lorenzen said. "He learned one too last year and it's fresh in his mind. We were playing catch today and it felt way better."
Lorenzen admitted the speedy transition from college player to professional and to a starting pitcher was draining. He recharged his batteries for a month and a half and resumed throwing on Jan. 1, working out at the facility owned by his agent, Scott Boras, with Major Leaguers Jered Weaver and Gerrit Cole.
"I've been able to come back nice and refreshed," Lorenzen said. "I feel like a freshman in college again here. I'm wide eyed. These are guys I looked up to last year. Now I'm in the same clubhouse with them."
Holmberg looks to impress in Reds camp
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- A new face at Reds camp, left-handed starting pitcher David Holmberg knows that if he can't crack the deep rotation, he wants to be able to do the next best thing: impress enough to be the first called up if something happens.
"I feel like this Spring Training will be important to make a good impression," Holmberg said. "The pieces will fall where they may. I'm just going to pitch the way I can and if they fall in my favor, that's fantastic."
Holmberg, 22, was acquired from the D-backs in the December three-team trade that sent catcher Ryan Hanigan to the Rays. Last season at Double-A Mobile, he was 5-8 with a 2.75 ERA in 26 starts. In 157 1/3 innings, he allowed 138 hits and 50 walks while striking out 116. He made one big league start for Arizona on Aug. 27 vs. San Diego and pitched 3 2/3 innings.
The Reds expect Holmberg to provide depth from Triple-A Louisville.
"I feel like they wanted me," Holmberg said. "I'm going to try and perform the way they think that I can."