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Video: Pitcher Michael Lorenzen hits a pinch-hit home run

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Reds reliever Michael Lorenzen can hit. The 25-year-old tripled as a rookie in 2015 and belted his first career home run on August 19 against the Dodgers last year against Pedro Baez.

Manager Bryan Price decided to get Lorenzen into the game on Thursday afternoon against the Phillies, having him pinch-hit for Cody Reed in the bottom of the sixth inning with two outs. Facing Adam Morgan, Lorenzen smashed a 3-1 fastball to center field for a solo home run, breaking a 4-4 tie. Lorenzen didn’t stay in to pitch, as Tony Cingrani took the mound to start the seventh.

#BanTheDH

Astros talking to Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole about extensions

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It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.

That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.