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Monday, June 25th, 2007

Luebke signs deal; heads west to Oregon for Class A assignment

By Gary R. Rasberry
First a Flyer, then a Buckeye, now an Emerald.
Within a few years, Cory Luebke is hoping to become a Padre.
The Marion Local graduate, the 63rd pick of the 2007 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, officially signed his deal with the San Diego Padres on Saturday and headed west to begin his professional baseball career.
Luebke flew out of Dayton on Sunday morning to go to Eugene, Oregon, home of the Padres' short-season Class A team, the Eugene Emeralds. The Emeralds began their season on June 19 and are currently 3-2.
"It worked out all right," said Luebke, who called during a brief layover in San Francisco before heading up to Eugene. "They (the Padres) weren't in a real hurry with me because of the amount of innings that I've thrown (1172/3, which led the Big Ten Conference). It wasn't necessarily that important that I got out here right away.
"The season started last week and they got a few games in. It was time to get it done."
The deal included a signing bonus that Luebke noted was $520,000 and includes money to allow Luebke to complete his college education, which is part of most contracts for drafted players.
"It ended up being where it should have been," said Luebke about the deal. "Every pick has a slot-dollar figure. MLB made some cuts (on how much could be given out) so it was a little down from last year. I've got a little extra money and some money for school. I was happy with it."
While family and friends in the area were hoping that Luebke would be assigned to the Padres' full-season Class A team in Fort Wayne - the easternmost affiliate for the Padres, Luebke knew that Eugene would be the first stop.
"That would have been a nice situation (playing in Fort Wayne)," said Luebke. "They were sending all their college draft picks to Eugene. I kind of knew up front that was where I would be.
"You just never know on how the season will end this year and how spring training goes next year and where they start me next year."
Because of his amount of work for Ohio State, leading the conference in ERA, wins and strikeouts, Luebke will likely be limited on his pitching appearances and how much mound time he'll have.
"They made it sound like they'll keep my innings down," said Luebke, who recently was named third team All-America by the American Baseball Coaches Association. "Whether that was going to be just a few starts or working in relief. I'll find out when I get there."
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