Now Commenting On:

Luetge's role increasing in Mariners bullpen

Luetge's role increasing in Mariners bullpen

Luetge's role increasing in Mariners bullpen
ST. PETERSBURG -- Lucas Luetge has been primarily a left-handed specialist in his brief career with the Mariners, but that role could be expanding a bit with fellow lefty Charlie Furbush now on the 15-day disabled list.

Luetge, a Rule 5 rookie who never pitched above Double-A ball before this season, found a successful niche as a guy who could come in and get a left-handed hitter or two out when needed. In his first 35 appearances this season, he totaled just 23 innings of work.

But the 25-year-old Texan was used to get five outs in the seventh and eighth innings of Tuesday's 9-6 victory at Kansas City, then closed out the ninth inning for Felix Hernandez in Thursday's 6-1 win. With Furbush sidelined by a strained biceps muscle, Luetge and Oliver Perez are the only lefties left in the bullpen.

"When we had three of us [left-handers] down there, I knew mostly that I'd be a one-batter guy just because Charlie and Oliver can go long," Luetge said. "I can, too, but it just hasn't been my role. But now that he's not here for a while, I'm going to have to extend myself a little."

Luetge has been thrilled to be a part of this year's Major League club after being selected in the Rule 5 Draft from the Brewers, and he -- and the Mariners -- are just learning how much he can do. So the youngster welcomes any increased role.

"Oh yeah. That's everybody's goal," he said. "I don't think there should be a relief pitcher out here that doesn't want to be a closer one day. You want to have the top spot. It's like every starter wants to be the ace. If you don't want that, you shouldn't be playing.

"I don't know too many people that just want to come in in a blowout game or a mop-up role. I think everybody wants a bigger role and when you get it, you've got to take advantage of it. Or if not, try for it again."

Heading into Friday's series opener against the Rays, Luetge owned a 1.40 ERA in 37 appearances and has shown an ability to get both left- and right-handers out. Lefties are hitting .146 (7-for-48) against him, while righties are .216 (8-for-37).

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español