Making Progress

Luebke back on the prosect radar

PEORIA, Ariz.—Corey Luebke's first professional season was a whirlwind of strikeouts and victories as he blew through the low minors.

Then things fell apart in 2008 at high Class A Lake Elsinore for the lefthander who was the 63rd pick of the 2007 draft after a standout career at Ohio State. In 17 appearances for the Storm, he was 3-6, 6.84.

"I had a hiccup two years ago," Luebke said. "But I was able to learn from it. I changed my delivery. Worked hard to get better, and it paid off."

He went back to Lake Elsinore last season and was 8-2, 2.34. That earned him a promotion to Double-A San Antonio, putting him back on the Padres' radar.

"I like this kid's arm," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Being in camp with us has been a good experience for him. He's made an impression. He's pushing guys. I like his velocity in the low 90s. And he has a good changeup, although he's throwing it a bit hard still."

An unwillingness to work inside to righthanded hitters led to his poor season in 2008.

"The biggest thing I'm working on now is running my fastball down and away to righthanded hitters," Luebke said. "Last year, I worked on getting the ball in on righthanders. I need to be able to command both sides of the plate to pitch in the big leagues. I realize that now. And I need to use my changeup more often. I'm still a work in progress."

The 25-year-old Luebke, who checks in at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, said his progress should be accelerated by getting to face major league hitters on a regular basis.


• Switch-hitting shortstop Lance Zawadzki has made a very favorable impression in big league camp. He has shown outstanding range, a strong arm and has slashed hits from both sides of the plate.

• Third baseman Logan Forsythe, a supplemental first-round pick out of Arkansas in 2008, has been playing a lot of second base in camp. Forsythe and Matt Antonelli, who has struggled for two years after a big 2007 season, have made favorable impressions this spring.