Video: Lueke on getting called up, and replacing injured Gomes
Righthander Josh Lueke was at his apartment after his game with Triple-A Durham Thursday night playing "Call of Duty" when he found out he was getting called up by the Rays.
"I was like, 'Sweet!'," Lueke said.
Lueke, 28, felt bad his good news came at the expense of his offseason workout partner, RHP Brandon Gomes, who was put on the 15-day disabled list due to a right lat strain. But Lueke hopes to keep the confidence and plan he's had since spring, going 2-0 with seven saves and a .95 ERA in 14 games for Durham.
"I've been trying to stay as positive as I can, and not really worrying about, basically, the stuff going on up here, because you can't really control that," Lueke said. "That way, when the call does come, it's maybe more of a permanent fixture, who knows?"
Rays manager Joe Maddon sensed a more mature Lueke this spring, with the reliever saying he improved his work ethic and approach, helped by Gomes and veteran Joel Peralta. Lueke said a key difference is he's able to "pitch backwards," keeping hitters off his fastball by starting them with offspeed stuff.
"You just look at his numbers - fantastic," Gomes said. "And he's been working really hard and has got great stuff. So he'll fit in nicely here."
Gomes hopes he won't be out very long, but doesn't know, saying he's never been on the DL or missed any significant amoutn of time. He said the lat strain was a "freak" thing, which popped up at the end of the last road trip in Colorado. Gomes said he tried to pitch through it, and get helped by treatment, but while warming up during Thursday night's game, he knew something had to be done.
"It's just painful everytime I try to throw a ball," Gomes said. "I was trying to get through it with treatment, but it wasn't enough. It came to the point where it was going to start affecting stuff."