BOSTON -- The Padres have always maintained that left-hander Cory Luebke has a future in their starting rotation, even while he continued to pitch well this season in long relief.
The Padres made it official Tuesday that Luebke's future in the rotation will begin in the next five or so days, as manager Bud Black confirmed that the 26-year-old will move into the rotation, taking the spot of another left-hander, Wade LeBlanc.
Black wouldn't commit to a day when Luebke would pitch, as the team has a scheduled off-day Thursday which could allow them to juggle their rotation.
LeBlanc was optioned to Triple-A Tucson on Tuesday after allowing three runs on seven hits on Monday against the Red Sox. LeBlanc yielded six runs in 7 2/3 innings on 14 hits in two starts over the past week.
- 131 wins
- 121 wins
Luebke, who is 1-3 with a 3.23 ERA in 29 games this season, threw 50 pitches in a relief of LeBlanc on Monday. He struck out five consecutive hitters at one point in a stint that covered 3 1/3 innings, his longest outing since April 8 (four innings).
Starting games certainly won't be anything new for Luebke, who made 74 starts during his Minor League career and three more last season with the Padres. With rest over the next few days, Luebke said he'll be able to go well beyond 50 pitches.
Luebke was 32-17 with a 3.49 ERA in 84 Minor League games, including the 74 starts. He was 1-1 with a 4.08 ERA in four games with San Diego in 2010.
"The biggest part for me will be being able to rest up before I pitch again," Luebke said. "I was up [throwing in the bullpen] in something like seven of the last eight days."
Luebke was up in the bullpen on two different occasions on Monday before he entered the game. He estimates that he threw anywhere from 25 to 50 pitches.
Luebke said he's excited to move back into a starter role, though pitching in relief wasn't nearly as bad as he initially thought it would be.
"Relieving might have been starting to grow on me," he said, smiling. "I was starting to enjoy it quite a bit."
Padres add 2010 pick Spence to 25-man roster
BOSTON -- Josh Spence became the answer to a good trivia question Tuesday, when the Padres promoted the 23-year-old left-hander from Double-A San Antonio to the Major Leagues, making him the first player of the club's 2010 Draft class to accomplish that feat.
On a day when the Padres optioned pitcher Wade LeBlanc to Triple-A Tucson, they also purchased the contract of Spence, who had a 1.71 ERA in 35 appearances in Double-A with 42 strikeouts, 11 walks and 29 hits allowed in 47 1/3 innings.
Spence appeared in 45 games over parts of two seasons, throwing 71 innings before he earned his promotion.
Spence, selected in the ninth-round of the 2010 Draft out of Arizona State, is a native of Geelong, a port city located in Victoria, Australia.
Pat Murphy, the manager of the Padres' short-season affiliate in Eugene, Ore., coached Spence at Arizona State. Spence was 10-1 with a 2.37 ERA as a junior for the Sun Devils before being selected in the third round of the Draft in 2009 by the Angels.
But Spence, who has good command and leans more on his slider and changeup than his velocity, turned down the Angels' offer to return to Tempe. He didn't pitch as a senior at Arizona State due to a nerve issue in his elbow, which is likely why he slid to the Padres.
"We knew he was polished when we drafted him. He was one of the best pitches in the country as a junior," said Padres general manager Jed Hoyer. "We sent him right to San Antonio because we realized he was on a fast track."
Randy Smith, the Padres' director of player personnel, said Tuesday that Spence was a "finesse guy with good command."
"He has a good slider and a good changeup and a great feel for pitching," Smith said of Spence, who also has a very good pickoff move.
Spence was with San Antonio on Monday as the team played in Corpus Christi, Texas. He took a morning flight from Corpus Christi to Dallas and then another flight to Boston, where he arrived with a smile and little in the way of clothing.
"I packed a pair of jeans and a T-shirt [for Corpus Christi]," he said.
In order to make room for Spence on the 40-man roster, the Padres designated outfielder Luis Durango for assignment. The team also requested unconditional release waivers on infielder Jorge Cantu.
Hawpe placed on DL with strained finger
BOSTON -- The Padres placed outfielder Brad Hawpe on the 15-day disabled list before Tuesday's game against the Red Sox with a strained middle finger on his right hand.
Hawpe was placed on the DL retroactive to Sunday. He's had soreness in that finger this season, though he aggravated it taking a swing Saturday in Minnesota.
"He's got to get physically right, and right now he's not," San Diego manager Bud Black said of Hawpe, who is hitting .231 with four home runs and 19 RBIs.
Hawpe, who missed five games last week with a sore left elbow, has enough swelling and soreness in the finger that he can't swing a bat.
"We have been treating it for the last four days," said Hawpe, who is hoping that his time on the disabled list will allow time for his finger and his elbow to heal.
The Padres recalled catcher Kyle Phillips from Triple-A Tucson before Tuesday's game to take Hawpe's roster spot.
Phillips hit .239 with two home runs and eight RBIs in 21 games for the Padres earlier in May and part of June while catcher Nick Hundley was on the disabled list with a strained oblique.
The addition of Phillips will give the Padres another left-handed bat off the bench.