NL All-Star voting update

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Yadier Molina and Buster Posey are neck-and-neck tatto. David Wright is getting help from the cougars! Did Domonoic Brown do something awful to the pets of every All-Star voter?

Confused? You won’t be, after this week’s episode of … “SOAP!”

Er, sorry. After this week’s NL All-Star voting update:

FIRST BASE
Joey Votto, Reds 2,047,945
Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs 1,524,517
Allen Craig, Cardinals 1,191,229
Brandon Belt, Giants 997,066
Freddie Freeman, Braves 924,937

SECOND BASE
Brandon Phillips, Reds 2,021,277
Marco Scutaro, Giants 1,717,875
Matt Carpenter, Cardinals 1,508,314
Chase Utley, Phillies 982,966
Daniel Murphy, Mets 786,414

SHORTSTOP
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies 2,443,772
Brandon Crawford, Giants 1,293,476
Jean Segura, Brewers 1,188,317
Pete Kozma, Cardinals 905,976
Andrelton Simmons, Braves 771,665

THIRD BASE
Pablo Sandoval, Giants 2,180,147
David Wright, Mets 2,053,744
David Freese, Cardinals 1,152,038
Chris Johnson, Braves 829,420
Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals 686,905

CATCHER
Buster Posey, Giants 2,606,434
Yadier Molina, Cardinals 2,543,588
John Buck, Mets 866,471
Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers 630,902
Brian McCann, Braves 627,056

OUTFIELD
Carlos Beltran, Cardinals 2,385,240
Justin Upton, Braves 2,054,225
Bryce Harper, Nationals 1,981,030
Ryan Braun, Brewers 1,645,094
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies 1,508,355
Matt Holliday, Cardinals 1,330,471
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates 1,319,419
Hunter Pence, Giants 1,286,163
Shin-Soo Choo, Reds 1,274,755
Angel Pagan, Giants 1,131,176
Carlos Gomez, Brewers 1,027,684
Gregor Blanco, Giants 934,174
Jon Jay, Cardinals 884,323
Domonic Brown, Phillies 837,748
B.J. Upton, Braves 733,744

Reds having Michael Lorenzen prepare as a two-way player

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For decades, a legitimate “two-way player” — a player who functions as both a pitcher and as a position player — was nothing but a fantasy. The skill sets required for both are too distinct and require too much prep work, it was thought. The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani shattered that illusion in 2018, posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances as a hitter while posting a 3.31 ERA in 51 2/3 innings as a pitcher.

Since then, several more players have been considered in two-way roles. The Rangers signed Matt Davidson earlier this month and could potentially use him as a corner infielder as well as a reliever. Also earlier this month, James Loney signed with the independent Atlantic League’s Sugar Land Skeeters, who plan to use him as both a first baseman and as a pitcher.

You can add Michael Lorenzen of the Reds to that list. MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports that the Reds will have Lorenzen prepare this spring as a two-way player. He could both start and relieve while occasionally playing in the outfield. Lorenzen, in fact, took batting practice with the outfielders on Thursday. Previously, he had taken batting practice as extra work following a workout with fellow pitchers.

Lorenzen said, “It’s fantastic, the effort they’re putting in. A lot of the excuses were, ‘You know, we don’t want to overwork him.’ Well, let’s just sit down and talk about it then. They were willing to sit down and talk about it, which is one of the reasons why I love this staff so much and why I think the front office did a great job [hiring] this staff. They’re willing to find solutions for problems.”

New manager David Bell said, “We’ve put together a plan for the whole spring, knowing we can adjust it at any time. We didn’t want to go into each day not knowing what he’s going to do. We all felt better, he did, too. He was part of putting it together.”

Lorenzen, 27, pitched 81 innings last year with a 3.11 ERA and a 54/34 K/BB ratio. He’s one of baseball’s best-hitting pitchers as well. Last year, he swatted four homers and knocked in 10 runs in 34 trips to the plate. The last pitcher to hit at least four homers in a season was the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner, who did it in both 2014 (four) and 2015 (five). Lorenzen also posted a 1.043 OPS. According to Baseball Reference, there have been only 11 pitchers to OPS over 1.000 (min. 30 PA). The only ones to do it in the 2000’s are Lorenzen last year, Micah Owings in 2007 (1.033) and Dontrelle Willis in 2011 (1.032).