Luke Steidlmayer, on the road back from offseason surgery on his right shoulder to fix a torn labrum, was placed on the disabled list with arm tenderness on July 22. He made one final appearance late in the year – a relief stint.
The California native made appearances in a total of three games for Fort Wayne, pitching in 10.1 innings. It was after his second start, a win, that he felt discomfort and the Padres decided more rest was needed.
A setback for a guy who performed well in 2003, despite a record that disputes that.
"When these guys have those types of surgeries, there is no timeframe," Padres' Director of Player Development Tye Waller said. "You just want to get them healthy again.
"We got him out and he came up tender so we had to back off. We slowed down and tried to get him relief here or there, get innings and just try and get him back on the mound."
In his brief return to action, the results were promising. He held hitters to a .158 batting average while showing pinpoint control, walking one and striking out 14.
Steidlmayer began his Minor League career in 2002, playing for the Eugene Emeralds. He went 3-2 with a 3.02 ERA in 70.1 innings of work, striking out 80. He also held the opposition to .224 average.
In 2003, Steidlmayer went 2-5 with a 4.20 ERA for Fort Wayne but held batters to a .237 average. He also made one start in Portland, earning the win in a five inning, one run outing.
He has been linked to Andy Ashby in terms of stuff. At 6-foot-5, 190 pounds, he throws a fastball that tops out in the low nineties. And he hasn't lost his ability to hit spots within the strike zone.
"He is another guy that went to Instructional League and we will take it easy with him so he can finish and regain the confidence in his arm," said Waller. "It takes that mentally to believe that I do not have to guard my arm and I can throw and give it everything I have without pain.
"That is very important. Just getting to that place mentally and then you will find out what a guy can do again."
One of the things that the Padres want to work with him on is controlling what is termed a violent delivery. Getting sound mechanically will decrease his chances of getting injured further and the hope is it does not affect his repertoire.
The upcoming season will be crucial to his development. It is easy to allow the mental anguish of the past year to catch up with him and his game will be defined by how he rebounds from injury.
Padres Prospect Scouting Report: Luke Steidlmayer
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