Results tagged ‘ Josh Lueke ’

First Time ‘Riders Pitcher Rehabs

Mark Lowe became the third Texas Rangers player to rehab with the Frisco RoughRiders this season tonight when he joined first baseman Mitch Moreland in Frisco. The other, Neftali Feliz, pitched two innings in a rehab start on July 16 against the San Antonio Missions. He was the only one of the three to not have pitched in Frisco as a RoughRiders before.

He pitched one inning of relief tonight against the San Antonio Missions. He gave up a game tying home run to Edinson Rincon and struck out two batters.

The right handed reliever has made 26 appearances for the Rangers this season and posted a 2.30 ERA. In 31 1/3 innings Lowe has struck out 25 batters and given up 22 hits.  He was placed on the Disabled List by the Rangers on June 29 with a strained right intercostals muscle.

The 29 year old was traded to the Texas Rangers as part of the Cliff Lee blockbuster deal at the trade deadline on July 9, 2010. The Rangers sent first baseman Justin Smoak, utility player Matt Lawson, and pitchers Blake Beavan and Josh Lueke to Seattle, all of whom played for the Frisco RoughRiders in either 2009 or 2010.

Written By: Michael Damman

Photo Illustration By: Jarah Wright

Photos courtesy of: Texas Rangers, Frisco RoughRiders, Seattle Mariners, and Philadelphia Phillies

Former RoughRiders on the Move

It’s that time of year where major league teams are wheeling and dealing.  Here are three former ‘Riders who have recently packed their bags because of a major league trade or free agency:

1. Taylor Teagarden

Of the three, the Rangers’ trade of Taylor is the most recent and the most talked about in DFW.  The Rangers announced the trade yesterday afternoon, dealing the Dallas native, and former University of Texas star, to Baltimore for right-handed pitcher Randy Henry and a player to be named later. According to Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com, the PTBNL won’t be determined until after the Rule-5 draft next Thursday.

We’re now all familiar with what Mike  Napoli is capable of, and Yorvit Torrealba proved to be capable as well.  With both catchers  under contract for 2012, the odds of Taylor making the major league roster out of spring training wasn’t good. In Baltimore he’ll now be backing up Matt Wieters.

Meanwhile, Henry is a 21-year-old Arnett Ok. native.  Selected in the 4th round of 2009 by Baltimore, Henry has worked exclusively out of the bullpen in his brief two-year minor league career.  He spent 2011 in Low-A and High-A and combined to go 4-3 with a 2.22 ERA in 52 2/3 innings with eight walks and 40 strikeouts.

According to Durrett, “Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus tweeted that Henry has a plus fastball with command and good velocity and sink on his pitches. One scout said he throws between 90-93 mph with a nice slider and is a good athlete.”

Always a chance we’ll see him in Frisco in 2012.

2. Josh Lueke

The Seattle Mariners have sent former RoughRiders’ reliever Josh Lueke and a PTBNL (or cash considerations) to the Tampa Bay Rays for catcher John Jaso.

Josh only made 15 appearances with the ‘Riders in 2010 before being dealt with Matt Lawson, Blake Beavan, and Justin Smoak in the Cliff Lee deal.  Josh had an overpowering 96-98 mph fastball that he struggled to control at times against Texas League batters.

In 25 games with the M’s this year, the former 16th round pick went 1-1, 6.06 ERA in 25 games.  Now 26-years-old, Josh also pitched in 30 games with Triple-A Tacoma in 2011 and went 2-4, 2.76 ERA.

3. Brandon Boggs

The RoughRiders’ center fielder in 2007, Brandon Boggs recently signed a minor league contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Originally from (my hometown of) St. Louis, Boggs was a 4th round pick of the Rangers in 2004.   On November 23, 2010, Boggs signed a major league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers, but was outrighted to Triple-A Nashville near the end of spring training 2011.  He declared for free agency on October 17, 2011.

In 104 games with Frisco in 2007, the switch hitter hit .266 with 19 home runs and 66 runs batted in.  Now 28-years-old, Boggs played in 94 games with Nashville in 2011 hitting .241 with 9 homers and 28 RBIs.

All the best to these three former ‘Riders in new homes.

-AG

Catching Up With Matt Lawson

Matt and me outside the 'Riders hotel in Springfield

Matt and me outside the 'Riders hotel in Springfield

I’m sure you remember Matt Lawson.  He was a 2010 Midseason Texas League All-Star and manned second base for the  RoughRiders while hitting .277 in 76 games with Frisco with seven home runs and 34 RBIs.

As I talked about some on the broadcast last night, a year ago yesterday, Lawson, along with Justin Smoak, Josh Lueke, and Blake Beavan were all shipped to Seattle in exchange for Cliff Lee.  Just like this year, the ‘Riders were in Springfield (Lawson’s hometown) playing the Cardinals when the trade happened.

“Law Dog,” as many teammates referred to him, was assigned to West Tennessee following the trade where he played for the Diamond Jaxx and hit .319 in 42 games.  However, after a successful showing in the prospect driven Arizona Fall League, Lawson was traded again just days before spring training.  This time he was dealt to Cleveland for another big leaguer, Aaron Laffey.

Lawson broke camp with Double-A Akron in the Indians’ system and played in 30 games for the Aeros before voluntarily retiring from baseball on June 14.

Matty now resides with his wife Mallory in Springfield, Mo. where he plans on finishing his schooling at Missouri State University where he played collegiately, and will also work as a volunteer assistant with his college coach, Keith Guttin.

Safe to say his retirement saddened many of us who got to know him well and rooted for him to make it to the bigs. However, if you know Matty well, you also know that he’s a clear thinker who wouldn’t make a decision of that proportion without really thinking it through. Matt was, and still is, one of my favorite players I’ve ever had the chance to cover.  I had the opportunity last year to share some meals with him on the road and learned more about him off the field. It’s relationship I’ll always value.

I had a hard time finding someone last season who was more genuine and worked harder day in and day out than Matt.  Let me be the first to say that I don’t see everything, and that there are plenty of hard working players throughout the minors.  However, from what I observed, Matt was a hard one to top.

I had the chance to grab lunch with Matty in Springfield the other day and then, in true minor league fashion, interview him in the Panera parking lot (classy).  In my conversation with him that played the other night on our pre-game show, what struck me the most was when we mentioned that contemplating retirement was a “battle of identities.”  The conflict between the guy who wanted to keep playing and chasing a dream, with that of someone who has a passion to coach and enter the second phase of his professional career.

After eating lunch with Matt, I was grateful to see that he is genuinely happy.  He’s excited to spend more time at home with Mallory and to experience professional coaching for the first time.

I don’t know how often our paths will cross in the future (at least twice a year when the ‘Riders travel to Springfield), but I do know that if I had a son and was looking for a coach, I can’t think of many better than Matty.

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