Their facial appearance is similar as well as their bodies, but Luke doesn't possess the 96 MPH fastball that got his older brother drafted in the first round six years ago. Instead Luke sits at around 89 MPH with his fastball and tops off as high as 91.
Without having that extra velocity to overpower hitters, Luke must rely on command and his breaking pitches to be successful. But even without having a power fastball in his arsenal, Luke says he hopes to achieve just as much as his brother.
"Our bodies are similar," Luke explained. "He's got more velocity on his arm right now and he's definitely more experienced than me. I feel like I have breaking stuff that can match with him.
"I would say he's more mature and he's been through a lot more than me. He's learned a lot more, stuff that you learn with time."
Despite their differences Luke says that having an older brother who has become a successful major league pitcher is going to help his development. The two talk on the phone regularly and Zack offers him advice on things from what he's doing wrong to how to handle certain minor league levels.
"In college we didn't talk a whole lot about pitching then but ever since I've been in the minor leagues he's been giving me advice," Luke said. "He always wants to know how I did in my games so I call and tell him. By hearing what happens to my game he usually has something to add in, something to work on."
Luke likes to set batters up with his fastball then attack them with his slider. Against lefties he tries to stay inside with his changeup. While neither pitch really stands out as anything special, he has been successful with them in short season single-A thanks to strong control.
"He's just got command of two of his pitches and his changeup is his key," explained Staten Island catcher Brian Baisley. "When it's effective he's effective. He has two good pitches that he throws for strikes and some of these guys they go out there and struggle doing that, and he does it fairly well."
There is no plan as of now to add a forth pitch, but as of right now that doesn't mean there are any plans to move him out of Staten Island's rotation. The Yankees like his potential as a starter and it's easy to see why.
Two outings ago was a five inning performance where he allowed just one hit. If he can continue to put up results like that, there won't be much thought about moving him to the bullpen.
If the Yankees eventually feel that he could be more successful in the pen he does have experience there to fall back on. He was a closer during his freshman year at Auburn University where he saved six games.
He was moved to middle relief his sophomore year before being shifted to the rotation his junior year where he has stayed since. Greinke says that he doesn't have a preference and ultimately would do whatever the Yankees wanted.
"I haven't heard anything about closing," he said. "I've heard they want to start me off as a starter and see how that goes. I like them both. Starting you're the main point of the game. You're out there giving your team a chance or letting it get out of reach. That's the nice thing about starting.
"Closing is great too. You're only up by one or two and you have to go out there and put it all into one inning."
Another place Greinke has experience is in the outfield. Between pitching appearances at Auburn he would play centerfield. He was a good outfielder with a strong arm who could even hit, but don't expect to see him out there while he's a Yankee. The team says they never even thought of him as an outfielder and they expect him to work solely on pitching.
"He was evaluated and he was drafted as a pitcher," said Staten Island manager Pat McMahon. "Although he's an outstanding athlete and could play in the outfield, we think it is in his best interest that he focuses only on pitching and we're very proud about that."
The team thinks that now that he's not working out in the field or in batting cages between starts he's going to become a better pitcher.
"I think that he's getting used to just pitching," McMahon said. "As a duel position player where you play centerfield everyday, you are taking batting practice everyday and your bullpen is on the side. Now he gets to concentrate on bullpen workouts, his delivery drills, and his dry sides. It kind of helps him that way."
For now, Greinke is just trying to adjust to moving to New York and working on becoming a Yankee. Coming from the rural area of Auburn, Alabama, life in New York has been a bigger adjustment than anything that takes place on the field.
Greinke Feeling His Way
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