Padres Prospect Interview: Luke Steidlmayer

The road to recovery was fit with peril last year for right-handed pitcher Luke Steidlmayer. He has taken the wisdom from that pain and turned it into a successful year, leaving the Midwest League for greener pastures.

Steidlmayer began the year in the Midwest League – as a reliever. After posting incredible numbers out of the pen, he was placed back in the rotation.

What followed was a promotion to Lake Elsinore and a quick promotion to Mobile. He had a three-game stint there before ending up back in Lake Elsinore for the stretch run.

Talk about the rehab process and the setbacks along the way from surgery.

Luke Steidlmayer: It has been a long process, that is for sure. The Padres have been great with me and patient with me in coming back.

They have been patient with me coming back, especially last year with me coming back made just a couple of starts and was hurt again. I needed some support to get back this spring and they gave that to me. Now it is just getting more strength each time I get out there and building up my pitch count. I feel pretty good and am excited about it.

What have you learned from this entire process?

Luke Steidlmayer: Most definitely a mental challenge more than anything. Obviously you hurt physically but it kind of takes its toll on you when you are not playing and you see everyone else playing, doing well, and moving up. That is where we want to be, anyone who is hurt. It is tough mentally and you have to battle through some ups and downs when you come back. I know I had some times when I was 100 percent last June. Two weeks later I was thinking am I ever going to pitch again. I have definite gone through the ups and downs. In the long run I think it definitely makes you tougher. It isn't necessarily something you want to go through but you don't know when these things are going to happen.

Did you find yourself having to make adjustments to your mechanics to prevent future injuries?

Luke Steidlmayer: I think I got back to the way I threw in college. I made some adjustments when I first signed, small ones, and then each time with the injury and each time coming back it would seem like it was still there and I just went back to what I have always done. My arm slot is way over the top which is a little different than a lot of people but it seems to be working.

When did you actually have faith in your arm during this process?

Luke Steidlmayer: Pretty much every time I came back I was going to give it everything I got. I didn't want to hold anything back from the first time last year when I was coming back. I trusted it and it let me down a few times. I think now is probably the best it has been. Getting out there and making a couple of starts in a row and yesterday wasn't a great start but in terms of confidence and being healthy it was. Each time I get out there I am feeling more confident and I feel like a normal pitcher, going through the regular soreness and that is about it.

Is your stuff the same now as it was in the past?

Luke Steidlmayer: It is pretty close to what it was. Maybe a little bit less. I think it is pretty close. It feels like I have what I used to.

Has your secondary pitches been slow to come back or do you find yourself using you secondary pitches more today?

Luke Steidlmayer: That is something I need to work on. I have been throwing a lot of fastballs. Fort Wayne was a pitchers league. We wanted to challenge these guys and make them beat us. That is something I have to work on and has been slower for me to get back is my breaking ball and my changeup rather than my fastball.

When you got out of spring training, did you know you were going to start in the pen and what was it like to get back in the rotation again?

Luke Steidlmayer: I didn't know what my role was going to be. My goal was to make a team. I didn't know how things were going to go in spring. It turned out I went through spring as a starter but one of the last couple of days they said I was going to start in the pen (in Fort Wayne). I wasn't thrilled about that but you have to take what you can get. I went out there – and I am excited to be back in the rotation.

You did do pretty well as a reliever…

Luke Steidlmayer: It worked out alright...

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