Luebke’s injuries are similar in severity to those of Johnson’s, and his return is much less clear. After showing flashes of dominance in 2012 – the last time he pitched in the majors, Luebke has undergone consecutive Tommy John surgeries that cost him the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
His road to recovery has been slow and arduous, but there is a glimmer of hope for the lefty. He is making some progress.
Luebke went through several rehab assignments during Spring Training that went well, and indicated that his return may be closer than expected. He began the year on the 15-day DL. Since then, Luebke has been moved to the 60-day DL, which may not ultimately be that significant, as the left-hander had no established return date.
If the Padres are able to get a level of production and efficiency that could match his stellar 2011 campaign – during which he went 6-10 with a 3.29, 1.07 WHIP and K/9 rate of 9.9 over 139.2 innings, the team will be more than happy.
Estimated return: September
He was injured before being acquired, and has remained in Peoria getting additional work and rehabilitation. Upton was spotted at the Padres/Diamondbacks game on Thursday night.
Upton Jr. has faced struggles at the plate the last few seasons, and has yet to fully rebound. After being traded to Atlanta in 2013, Upton Jr. batted .198 with 21 home runs in 910 plate appearances over 2 seasons with the Braves.
He can provide depth and has defensive range, and could possibly resurrect his hitting abilities in a more positive clubhouse environment.
Estimated return: June