SEATTLE -- Lucas Luetge was called up from Triple-A on Monday after Jeremy Bonderman was designated for assignment, but the lefty reliever saw this one coming three days earlier with a tip from an unlikely source: a fortune cookie from P.F. Chang's restaurant in Salt Lake City while traveling with the Tacoma Rainiers.
Luetge became a bigger believer in the power of cookies after a to-go order on Friday produced a message reading: "Next Monday will be a lucky day for you."
"I've never had a fortune cookie that listed an exact day," Luetge said on Monday, pulling the piece of paper out of his locker in the Safeco Field clubhouse. "Usually it's "Good fortune is coming your way" or "You'll be wealthy in the future" or something like that. So, I kept it and told my wife, 'I got a good fortune cookie, but I've got to wait a couple days to tell you.' And then sure enough, today is Monday."
Luetge was feeling fortunate in many ways after catching up with his Mariners teammates.
"This is a lot more exciting phone call [than when he got called up before}," Luetge said after rejoining the Mariners for a third time this season following a six-week stint with the Rainiers. "I guess because it was a longer time down there and it makes you miss it a little more and realize how good things are here. It was pretty exciting. I couldn't sleep much. I'm running on adrenaline."
Luetge spent all of last season with the Mariners as a Rule 5 Draft pickup from the Brewers and posted a 3.98 ERA in 63 games. He again opened the year on the 25-man roster, then was sent down on April 9 before rejoining the club for most of May. In 11 appearances with the Mariners this season, Luetge is 0-1 with a 7.15 ERA in 11 1/3 innings.
In 22 games with the Rainiers, Luetge was 0-0 with a 4.35 ERA with one save. He struck out 45 in 31 innings and did not allow a run over his last five outings, striking out 10 in 7 1/3 innings.
"I had a two-week stretch when I was playing about the worst baseball of my life," he said. "I could have thrown an intentional walk and the guy would have hit it. It was one of those deals. It took a mental toll. But after that, it was good. I couldn't get any worse and we got working in the bullpen to figure things out and it's been going well ever since then."
Luetge said he's been getting a better downhill angle since making some adjustments. So, he believes his fortunes truly may have changed.