Luebke still believes he has a lot to learn

Cory Luebke was considered polished coming out of Ohio State but the reality is he believes he has a lot to learn and more physical and mental maturity to do. Considering the early success, that bodes well for his future.

The end of last season you battled a little bit of fatigue it seemed. We talked about he long season at Ohio State, but talk about battling through it mentally.

Cory Luebke: It was tough. I am the type of guy that normally gets ahead with my fastball and works off it. When I wasn't getting my fastball over early in the counts, it put me in a hole. You then have to throw more fastballs than you want and hitters start sitting on you and doing what they did.

What was the off-season preparation like and how did it change knowing you have another full season of baseball ahead?

Cory Luebke: The first month I rested a bit and started hitting the weights. I started slowly getting back into the throwing program and tried to put some weight on to build the boy up for the long season that it is.

They were saying you could probably afford to put on 10-15 pounds. Is that something you want to maintain or is it the buffer zone for the season?

Cory Luebke: I put it on and it was all muscle so we will see what happens. We have a good group of weight training guys that everyone trusts. We will put it in there hands and see what happens.

Was there a goal to put on that muscle in the legs or somewhere else?

Cory Luebke: All-around. I have a bigger frame and am still growing a little bit. Just making sure it is good weight and still staying flexible so I don't lose any of that whip in my arm.

One thing we discussed before is you didn't have the coaching at Ohio State. How has that changed and what do you see as far as the results?

Cory Luebke: A lot of people saw me as a polished lefty coming in but the off-speed I throw now I did not start throwing until halfway through last spring. A lot of it is with my off-speed and staying on top of the ball.

The first day they made a little adjustment with me and I went from none of my pitches being in the zone to all three – so it helps. To be able to grow with guys like Couch (roving pitching coordinator Mike Couchee) and Wally (Whitehurst) and Webby (Steve Webber) – it makes it easier on yourself when you have guys like that watching over you.

What have those adjustments been?

Cory Luebke: Working on my bottom half a little bit, trying to keep me back a little bit to stay on top of the ball so when I am tired later in games I am not leaving balls up and still driving balls down in the zone.

You mentioned working on the changeup. How is that coming along for you?

Cory Luebke: It is getting there. I worked a lot on it this off-season. It is a pitch right now that I feel more comfortable with than I ever have before. It is just a matter of getting it into games and trusting it when I need it in different situations.

How do you see it playing a role in your pitch sequencing? Is it a pitch that you want to throw to righties?

Cory Luebke: It is a pitch they want me to eventually throw to both but right now righties. It is a pitch that will mix it up.

In college, when I needed a strike I would have a tendency to go to my fastball. But this can be used in 1-0 and 2-0 counts when guys are sitting back – to have that second and third pitch to throw in there for a strike.

Have you also worked on the breaking ball?

Cory Luebke: I didn't throw too many (this off-season). I took it easy on the arm a little bit. I threw to hitters in spring and it felt good. Early in the year, it has tightened up a bit, which is good.

What is going to make for a successful 2008 season for Cory Luebke?

Cory Luebke: Eat up a lot of innings, win games and overall command – getting to the point where as a starter I can throw three pitches in any count. I think that is what I am looking for.

You mentioned being polished. Do you still consider yourself to be a little raw?

Cory Luebke: I think so. The coaches are still working with me and everyone has room for improvement. I think it goes back to I am still growing and I am going to throw a little harder yet. The fact is I need to catch my off-speed up with my fastball.

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