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Josh Lueke

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Joshua William Lueke

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Josh Lueke reached the majors in 2011.

Lueke was 3-6 with a 4.20 ERA an 47 strikeouts in 75 innings in college in 2007. The Texas Rangers took the tall right-hander in the 16th round of the 2007 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Mark Giegler and made his pro debut that summer. He struck out 6 of the 11 batters he faced for the Spokane Indians in his first two games as a pro and was quickly promoted to the Clinton Lumber Kings, where he was 0-3 with six saves and a 3.34 ERA in 20 outings.

In 2008, the Kentucky native did well with Clinton (1-1, 2 Sv, 2.61, 12 K in 10 1/3 IP) and moved up to the Bakersfield Blaze, where he was 2-6 with a save and a 5.03 ERA in a hitter-friendly California League. He whiffed 72 in 59 innings while walking 16. The next year, Josh was 0-1 with a save and a 1.17 ERA in four games for Bakersfield, with 11 K in 7 2/3 innings, but spent most of the year on the restricted list. To that point, he was 3-11 in the minors but with 132 strikeouts in 114 2/3 innings.

Lueke opened 2010 with the Hickory Crawdads and was lights-out at 2-1, 0.46 with 10 saves and 36 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings. Promoted to the Frisco RoughRiders, he went 1-1 with two saves, a 3.86 ERA and 26 K in 18 2/3 innings. He was then dealt with Justin Smoak (born on the same date as Lueke, two years later), Blake Beavan and Matthew Lawson to the Seattle Mariners for Cliff Lee, Mark Lowe and cash. Following the deal, he pitched for the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx (1-0, 3 Sv, 0 R, 14 K in 7 1/3 IP) and Tacoma Rainiers (1-0, 2 Sv, 2.08). Between his four stops that year, he had a 5-2, 1.86 record in 50 games, saving 17. He had fanned 94 in 63 innings and had a 1.00 WHIP.

He made the M's 2011 opening day roster out of spring training. The first batter he faced in the big leagues, Cliff Pennington of the Oakland A's, succumbed to a strikeout. However, he generally struggled in his big league appearances, putting up a 6.06 ERA in 25 games, with a 1-1 record. He did much better at AAA Tacoma, where he was 2-4, but with a 2.76 ERA and 11 saves in 30 games. After the season, on November 27th, Seattle traded him to the Tampa Bay Rays in return for C John Jaso.

Sources include 2010 Rangers Media Guide

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