Luetge's good fortune to be back in Majors
Lefty reliever rejoins Mariners as predicted a few days earlier in cookie
SEATTLE -- Lucas Luetge was called up from Triple-A on Monday after Jeremy Bonderman was designated for assignment, but the lefty reliever saw this one coming three days earlier with a tip from an unlikely source: a fortune cookie from P.F. Chang's restaurant in Salt Lake City while traveling with the Tacoma Rainiers.
Luetge became a bigger believer in the power of cookies after a to-go order on Friday produced a message reading: "Next Monday will be a lucky day for you."
"I've never had a fortune cookie that listed an exact day," Luetge said on Monday, pulling the piece of paper out of his locker in the Safeco Field clubhouse. "Usually it's "Good fortune is coming your way" or "You'll be wealthy in the future" or something like that. So, I kept it and told my wife, 'I got a good fortune cookie, but I've got to wait a couple days to tell you.' And then sure enough, today is Monday."
Luetge was feeling fortunate in many ways after catching up with his Mariners teammates.
"This is a lot more exciting phone call [than when he got called up before}," Luetge said after rejoining the Mariners for a third time this season following a six-week stint with the Rainiers. "I guess because it was a longer time down there and it makes you miss it a little more and realize how good things are here. It was pretty exciting. I couldn't sleep much. I'm running on adrenaline."
Luetge spent all of last season with the Mariners as a Rule 5 Draft pickup from the Brewers and posted a 3.98 ERA in 63 games. He again opened the year on the 25-man roster, then was sent down on April 9 before rejoining the club for most of May. In 11 appearances with the Mariners this season, Luetge is 0-1 with a 7.15 ERA in 11 1/3 innings.
In 22 games with the Rainiers, Luetge was 0-0 with a 4.35 ERA with one save. He struck out 45 in 31 innings and did not allow a run over his last five outings, striking out 10 in 7 1/3 innings.
"I had a two-week stretch when I was playing about the worst baseball of my life," he said. "I could have thrown an intentional walk and the guy would have hit it. It was one of those deals. It took a mental toll. But after that, it was good. I couldn't get any worse and we got working in the bullpen to figure things out and it's been going well ever since then."
Luetge said he's been getting a better downhill angle since making some adjustments. So, he believes his fortunes truly may have changed.
Franklin staying positive despite sore knee
SEATTLE -- Rookie second baseman Nick Franklin on Monday was still feeling soreness in his right knee, where he'd fouled a bunt off his leg on Friday night in Cincinnati. But it's full speed again for the youngster, who played through the pain on Sunday and hit a first-inning home run that helped catapult the Mariners to a 3-1 victory.
"Compared to yesterday, it's doing a lot better," Franklin said before batting practice on Monday prior to the series opener with the Red Sox. "I know it's not going to injure me more, therefore if I'm going to run, I might as well run it. As long as I know it's not going to injure me more, I'll play on it."
Franklin has been one of the young catalysts for some positive momentum over the past few weeks. He's hit .302 with two home runs and eight RBIs over his last 13 games going into Monday, giving him six homers and 18 RBIs with a .287 average in his first 31 outings in the Majors.
After winning series against quality clubs in Texas and Cincinnati, the Mariners are feeling some positive mojo and Franklin is right in the middle of it.
"It was a good road trip," he said. "We were on top of it. When chances arose, guys came through with clutch hits. When we were up, we were continuing to put runs on the board. So that was good. Things are going pretty well.
"I think we're having fun and having fun can lead to playing good baseball sometimes. If you're in that phase of losing, it's more kind of down and nobody is joking around. The more you win, the more fun you have."
• After Tom Wilhelmsen picked up a pair of saves on the last road trip, manager Eric Wedge confirmed he indeed is back in the closer's role now, though the skipper said Oliver Perez would continue to get some save opportunities.
• Outfielder Michael Morse, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right quadriceps, ran in the outfield as well as some stairs at Safeco Field on Monday. Morse and outfielder Franklin Gutierrez (hamstring strain) both took batting practice with the team as well and will continue working with the club until at least midweek.
Wedge said the two would hit in a simulated game situation on Wednesday against reliever Stephen Pryor, himself recovering from a torn shoulder muscle that has him on the 60-day DL. Pryor threw a bullpen session on Monday and everything went well, according to Wedge.
• Right-hander Taijuan Walker, ranked by MLB.com as the Mariners' No. 1 prospect, saw his scoreless innings streak in Triple-A reach 14 innings before allowing a solo home run in the fourth on Sunday in his third start for Tacoma. Walker wound up with a no-decision after pitching five frames with six hits and just the lone run. The 20-year-old is 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA with five walks and 16 strikeouts in 16 innings while holding opponents to a .186 average.
• Infielder Ty Kelly, obtained from the Orioles in the trade for Eric Thames, went 4-for-4 for Tacoma on Sunday and is hitting .545 (12 for 22) in six games.