Cory Luebke Rumors

Injury Notes: Garza, Pence, Profar, Luebke

The Brewers have placed righty Matt Garza on the 15-day DL with what the team is calling right shoulder tendinitis, Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports. It appears as though the plan is to maximize Garza’s rest with the All-Star break, but one wonders whether the move also removes him from serious consideration as a trade piece this summer. Garza indicated that the issue was not terribly significant, but he has a long and growing list of medical ailments that have cropped up in his career. And then there’s the fact that Garza will not have much opportunity to improve his value after a rough first half. He is sporting a 5.55 ERA in 99 frames on the year, with ERA estimators not painting a much rosier picture, and his strikeout rate continues to fall. Garza is owed $12.5MM annually from 2014-17 under the deal he signed to join the Brewers, and also has a fairly achievable $13MM vesting clause tacked on at the end of his contract.

  • Giants outfielder Hunter Pence appears to be nearing a return from the DL in the fairly near future, possibly before the All-Star break,’s Oliver Macklin writes. San Francisco has dropped back to .500 and could certainly use a jolt from the dynamic Pence, not least of which because the club is also missing fellow corner outfielder Norichika Aoki. Assuming Pence can avoid another setback with his wrist and re-entrench himself in right field, the club would have a much less pressing need for an additional outfielder.
  • Padres lefty Cory Luebke has suffered a setback in his bid to return from a second successive Tommy John procedure, Corey Brock of reports. For now, it’s just elbow discomfort, but the team was concerned enough to bring the 30-year-old back to San Diego from his rehab assignment in Triple-A. Luebke has not pitched in the big leagues in over three years, though he has finally seen competitive action in the minors for the first time since originally blowing out his UCL.
  • Another once-promising player who is on a long road back is Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar, who was once one of the game’s very best prospects. As Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News writes, Profar remains staggeringly young given how long he’s been on the scene and out with shoulder issues. He’ll still only be 23 come next spring. Profar remains a long way from returning to the big leagues, says Fraley, who notes that he is progressing through daily rehab sessions and monthly MRI tests.

NL Notes: Escobar, O’Brien, Draft, Luebke

Yunel Escobar of the Nationals, like many other Cuban ballplayers, followed a difficult path to the big leagues, as James Wagner of the Washington Post writes. It has not always been smooth sailing for the 32-year-old since he finally made it as a professional, of course, though he is settling in nicely in D.C., where he has played an important role on a team that is still missing Anthony Rendon. Escobar owns a .303/.358/.394 slash in 109 plate appearances thus far in 2015.

  • Diamondbacks prospect Peter O’Brien — acquired in last summer’s Martin Prado deal — says he believes his shift out of a catching role has helped him to a strong start offensively, Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic reports. It remains to be seen whether Arizona will look to move him back behind the dish at some point — he did finally don the gear for the first time this year recently — but it sounds as if O’Brien may be ready to embrace a more permanent change. “Catching is a lot of fun, but I really enjoy the outfield and I definitely think that my bat is my biggest strength,” O’Brien said. “I think that plays a little bit better in the outfield.”
  • This year’s amateur draft figures to feature a lot of moving parts, and it’s still months away. But that didn’t stop Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel and Baseball America’s John Manuel from taking a shot at early mock drafts. The analysts disagree somewhat on the direction the Diamondbacks will take with the first overall pick, with McDaniel tabbing Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson (a shift from another recent post, reflecting the uncertainty) and Manuel pointing to UCSB righty Dillon Tate. Neither of those highly-regarded players would represent a big surprise in that slot, of course, as both have consistently been listed as amongst the consensus three best players available along with high school shortstop Brendan Rogers.
  •’s Barry Bloom checks in with Padres hurler Cory Luebke, who is diligently working back from his second Tommy John surgery and is hoping to throw live BP within the next few weeks. “I’m making progress,” Luebke said. “It’s been a long haul, but it’s the best place I’ve been in for the last few years. It’s exciting, but if I’ve learned anything it’s not to ride the roller coaster. Take a week at a time. But I definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel a little bit.” Luebke is in the final guaranteed year of his four-year, $12MM extension, though San Diego holds successive club options ($7.5MM and $10MM, respectively, over his next two seasons).

NL West Notes: Whiteside, Johnson, Descalso, Guerrero

Catcher Eli Whiteside has opted to accept a coaching job with the Giants rather than taking one of several offers he had to continue playing,’s Chris Haft reports. The veteran played in parts of six MLB seasons, including a three-year run in which he was a significant contributor for San Francisco. He will retire after getting one last short run in the bigs last year with the Cubs.

More from the NL West:

  • Padres righty Josh Johnson has progressed to the point that he’ll throw to a catcher on flat ground, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. With his training program currently on track, Johnson is scheduled to throw a pen session for the first time by mid-March with a target of game action by June, if all goes according to plan. Johnson’s deal with San Diego promises him only $1MM but can increase all the way to $7.25MM if he maxes out his incentives.
  • Fellow two-time TJ patient Cory Luebke is also hoping to return strong for the Padres, as’s Corey Brock reports. The story details some of the ups and downs that Luebke has had in dealing with his two procedures. As with Johnson, 2015 is something of a make-good season for the lefty: his early-career extension is up after the season, when San Diego will have to decide whether to exercise a $7.5MM option or pay a $1.75MM buyout.
  • The Rockies pursued utilityman Daniel Descalso not only because he would offer a versatile bench option, but because of his big-game experience, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. Skipper Walt Weiss explained that the former Cardinals infielder brought an underappreciated element to the squad. “All of that factored in quite a bit,” said Weiss. “I think we sometimes underestimate the value of that — guys that have played in big games, pennant races, and have won a World Series. Those types of players are valuable, and that’s a big reason why we brought Danny in here.”
  • Alex Guerrero‘s contract and the Dodgers roster situation makes for quite a puzzle, as Dave Cameron of Fangraphs writes. On the one hand, Guerrero can refuse an optional assignment and has said he will do just that. On the other, if he is traded he will earn the right to opt out of his deal after the season. Cameron posits that the club could send Guerrero out in exchange for some savings on his 2015 tab, agreeing to remain responsible for post-2015 responsibilities while hoping he will opt out. The Angels, Blue Jays, Rockies, and Rangers all look like reasonable landing spots, in Cameron’s estimation.

Cory Luebke To Miss 2014 Season With Torn UCL

Padres southpaw starter Cory Luebke will not be a rotation option for San Diego after an MRI found a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament, reports's Corey Brock. After missing most of 2012 and all of last year as he rehabbed from a prior Tommy John surgery, Luebke appears headed for a second procedure.

Luebke had been expected to play a major role in the team's rotation plans for the coming season. GM Josh Byrnes expressed dismay at the "mystery" of Luebke's elbow issues. Though the Friars still have plenty of options to take the ball every fifth day, the injury certainly takes away one layer of security (and one possible source of some upside for the club). Though the club's depth means that an immediate addition is not an obvious necessity, the injury certainly has an impact on San Diego's current and future rotation plans.

Through 55 career appearances, 25 of them starts, Luebke has recorded 188 1/3 innings of 3.25 ERA ball, including 9.3 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9. Luebke is still under contract for this season and next under the three-year, $12MM extension he signed before the 2012 year. The Padres hold club options for the 2016-17 season, though it is premature to consider what the decision will look like on those at this point.

Quick Hits: Colon, Litsch, Rangers

Cory Luebke will undergo reconstructive elbow surgery on Wednesday, Dan Hayes of the North County Times tweets. The Padres left-hander hasn’t pitched in the Major Leagues since April 27th and had been undecided as to his next step. Here are the rest of today’s links…

  • Jim Callis of Baseball America says Royals infield prospect Christian Colon will eventually move from shortstop to second base, where he can be a solid regular.
  • Blue Jays right-hander Jesse Litsch says he has a "career threatening" infection in his shoulder, Barry Davis of tweets. Litsch, 27, has spent the entire season on Toronto's disabled list. He posted a 4.44 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 75 innings last year.
  • Former MLB outfielder Bobby Kielty told MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes that he signed with the York Revolution of the independent Atlantic League. The 35-year-old has a career .296/.379/.503 batting line against left-handed pitching, but hasn't played in the Major Leagues since 2007.
  • There's still no resolution in the Jairo BerasRangers case, Ben Badler of Baseball America writes. Texas agreed to sign the prospect for $4.5MM, but MLB's questions about his age remain unanswered. International sources tell Badler MLB can't sign off on the deal if it wants to seem serious about rule enforcement in Latin America.
  • Jon Heyman of wonders if the Rangers could be a fit for Roy Oswalt now that starter Neftali Feliz is on the disabled list (Twitter link). Click here for the latest Oswalt rumors.

Quick Hits: Pirates, Manny, Luebke, Luhnow

Some links from around the league on a day when Max Scherzer became the first pitcher since 1988 to induce 15 swinging strikeouts in one game…

  • We're just two weeks shy of the three-year anniversary of the trade that sent Nate McLouth from the Pirates to the Braves in exchange for Charlie Morton, Jeff Locke, and Gorkys Hernandez. Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review points out that with Locke being recalled from Triple-A, all four players involved in that trade — even McLouth himself — are on the Pirates' 25-man roster.
  • Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News chronicles Manny Ramirez's journey to the Athletics, and ponders which Manny will show up in Oakland. Manny, who began a 10-game minor league assignment this weekend, has a chance to rewrite what was a disappointing ending to his career, writes Brown.
  • Nothing is certain, but Padres lefty Cory Luebke is strongly leaning toward undergoing Tommy John surgery, writes Dan Hayes of the North County Times. Luebke was transferred to the 60-day DL today, which opens a spot on the Pads' 40-man roster.
  • Astros GM Jeff Luhnow is personally scouting candidates for his team to select with the No. 1 overall pick in this year's MLB draft, writes's Brian McTaggart. Luhnow isn't revealing which players he's scouting. He told reporters the Astros "aren't close" to knowing which player they'll draft, but are feeling more comfortable with the information they've gathered.

Padres Agree To Deal With Cory Luebke

The Padres today announced that they have agreed to terms with left-hander Cory Luebke on a contract through the 2015 season with club options for 2016 and 2017.  The 27-year-old is represented by Meister Sports Management.

The deal will give Luebke a guaranteed $12MM, according to Tom Krasovic of Inside The Padres (via Twitter).  If both options are exercised, Luebke could earn up to $27.75MM, tweets Corey Brock of

The contract can potentially cover Luebke's arbitration eligible years and his first year of free agency.  The lefty appeared in 46 games for the Padres last season, posting a 3.29 ERA with 9.9 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9.