GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Decked out head-to-toe in Reds gear, 8-year-old Kaden Palmer thought he might get an autograph from his favorite player, Michael Lorenzen, during practice Tuesday afternoon.
Kaden had already picked up a signed baseball from Joe Morgan and a broken bat from Darnell Sweeney by the time he nervously approached the 6-foot-3 pitcher with another baseball and pen in hand.
"I want to be a major league pitcher someday," Kaden told Lorenzen.
He got his autograph, naturally, but he also got a surprise: A hands-on pitching lesson from the pro himself.
Lorenzen guided Kaden through his pitching technique -- "I don't throw the ball until my foot hits the ground; my arm is loose, loose, loose, and once my foot hits the ground, I throw hard." -- and chatted with him about his major-league ambitions.
His advice: "Let everyone else get distracted while you keep working and keep moving forward."
Kaden said he knows that aspiring players have to work hard to get to the highest level of professional baseball and added he was ready to put in the hours.
Lorenzen congratulated him but also reminded him: "Make sure you love the game. I still love the game as much as I do when I was your age."