Big League Debut Comes in Big Game for the Former Buckeye
By Gina Mizell / MLB.com
The reeling San Diego Padres will hand the ball to a starting pitcher with no big league experience to try to stop the bleeding on Friday.
Cory Luebke will make his much-anticipated Major League debut as the Padres attempt to snap a season-high seven-game losing streak against the Rockies when the two National League West foes begin a three-game weekend series at PETCO Park.
The 25-year-old southpaw has dominated the Minors while splitting the season between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Portland, posting a 10-1 record with a 2.68 ERA in 19 outings (17 starts) before his contract was selected by the Padres when rosters were expanded on Wednesday. He tallied 88 strikeouts against 29 walks, and his .200 opponents' average ranked third across the Minors.
Now, Luebke will try to transfer that success to the big leagues, and the 63rd overall selection of the 2007 Draft could earn a permanent spot in the starting rotation along the way. But he said the only thing on his mind right now is making the most of his first chance to take the mound in San Diego.
"I'm just going to take it a start at a time," Luebke said. "[Padres manager Bud Black] let me know I was pitching Friday, so I'll get myself ready on Friday and whatever this team needs me to do."
Still, Luebke said he will savor the opportunity to make his first start for a division-leading club in the heat of a pennant race in September.
"No better way to do it," he said.
Luebke will be opposed by Aaron Cook, who will toe the rubber for the first time since spending 3 1/2 weeks on the disabled list with a hyperextended big toe.
Cook was originally supposed to start Thursday's makeup game against the Phillies, but that was bumped back a day because of his career success at PETCO Park. He's 6-1 all time at the home of the Padres, though his only outing in San Diego this season resulted in a no-decision after he allowed five earned runs on six hits over five innings in May