Zduriencik adds familiar name in Rule 5
Lefty reliever Luetge was selected by GM when with Brewers
DALLAS -- One of the things the Mariners are looking for this winter is a left-handed reliever, so general manager Jack Zduriencik used the third pick in the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday to select Lucas Luetge from the Brewers, hoping he can fill that role.
Luetge, 24, went 1-3 with three saves and a 3.13 ERA in 46 games this past season with Double-A Huntsville in the Southern League. His addition now puts the Mariners' 40-man roster at 38 players.
Zduriencik was scouting director of the Brewers when they selected the 6-foot-4, 203-pounder out of Rice University in the 21st round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.
"He's a guy we have some familiarity with," Zduriencik said. "Our guys like him. He's a tall left-hander with an average fastball and they thought he was improving over the last couple years. There were 12 players taken in this Draft, so it was not an extremely deep pool. But to take a left-hander that has a chance to maybe be something, we'll find out in Spring Training."
Mariners manager Eric Wedge has never had a Rule 5 player stick during his Major League tenure in Cleveland or last year in Seattle, when reliever Jose Flores was sent back to his original team after Spring Training.
But Luetge fits a possible position of need, so he'll be given a good look. Rule 5 players must remain in the Majors for the entire season or be offered back to their former team for half of the original claiming price of $50,000.
Luetge, a Texas native, struck out 69 batters in 69 innings last season.
"We took him to give him the opportunity to come in and pitch and see where he's at," Zduriencik said. "The fact we liked him to some degree is good, but we know the Rule 5 is an uphill climb for any young kid to come in and make the club.
"He's an intelligent kid and has been pitching for a while, so we'll give him a chance and see what happens."
The Mariners didn't lose any players in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft, but the Rangers did select Double-A outfielder Efrain Nunez from Seattle's system in the Minor League portion.
Nunez spent last season with Class A Pulaski, where he hit .291 with six home runs and 23 RBIs in 44 games.