Former Coach Helps Rays' Lueke Make Adjustments
ST. PETERSBURG, FLA.—Summoned to the majors for one of those hurry-up callups to add a fresh arm to the bullpen, righthander Josh Lueke arrived in Oakland without his batting practice top. So before heading out on the field for the Aug. 1 game, he donned one from teammate David Price. That created some confusion for the Coliseum fans.
The Rays can only hope one day there are legit reasons to even compare the two.
Lueke's first three months as a Ray didn't provide much hope, as he didn't impress much in two stints in the majors and racked up some ugly numbers in the first half at Triple-A Durham: 0-3, 5.88, with 49 hits and 13 walks in 41 innings over 26 appearances.
With John Jaso racking up key hits for the Mariners as the Rays struggled for offense, the offseason trade didn't look too good.
But Lueke, 27, did something about it, making a visit during the all-star break to Brad Holman, who was his pitching coach in 2010 with the Rangers' low Class A Hickory team. Holman, now with high Class A Myrtle Beach, is someone Lueke holds in high regard.
"I just went and talked to, I'd guess you'd call him my personal oracle, my old pitching coach, Brad Holman," Lueke explained. "And he kind of did a little tweaking."
Combined with the work he had been doing with Durham pitching coach Neil Allen, Lueke started to figure things out.
"A huge turnaround," Lueke said.
He didn't allow a walk in his first five appearances after the break, and through six had allowed only one run (for a 0.75 ERA).
"My velocity has been more consistent and my pitches have been getting more consistent, staying in the zone and not walking as many people," he said.
Lueke said an attitude change was also key.
"I was just really trying to stay positive, just looking past what was happening and to what could happen," he said. "And sure enough, things turned around."
• The Rays promoted shortstop Derek Dietrich and outfielder Mikie Mahtook, two of the Rays' more promising young position prospects, from high Class A Charlotte to Double-A Montgomery.
• Righthander Alex Colome earned a ticket from Montgomery to Durham after an impressive performance for the Biscuits, including a 5-0, 1.27 record in his last five starts.