Lumberjack Q&A: Lance Luetge
April 30, 2007
Senior Lance Luetge sat down to answer a few questions about undergoing Tommy John surgery, having to sit out a year, and helping lead the Lumberjacks into the middle of a race for a position in the Southland Conference tournament.
Q: What was your reaction when you were told you were having Tommy John surgery and when did the actual operation occur?
A: November 7, 2005. I didn't even know it was going to be Tommy John, I'm going to be honest with you. They told me using the big words - ulnar collateral ligament - and I was like, "Oh, okay. What does that mean?" And the doctor said, "You're having surgery," and I just thought, "Okay." He didn't really explain it to me. Then right before I went in to have the surgery, someone told me exactly what it was and I thought, "Oh, God. I have to have this thing. This isn't good." I thought it was a minor surgery, that I just ripped something. Then I found out it was Tommy John and I was in a little bit of shock.
Q: How long was your recovery time?
A: I'm still recovering, obviously, because my arm still isn't healthy enough. But I think it took me 12 months before I could start throwing again.
Q: How frustrating was it?
A: It was hard to not do anything. I had to relearn everything. I felt like a baby, but once I got used to it, it got better, but then I hit a hole and had to lay off for a bit. But you just have to keep going. You can't do what you want with your arm anymore; you have to be careful.
A: Oh, yeah. It helps a lot that coach went through it because if he didn't, then he wouldn't understand when or why I was hurting. He understands that my arm can just hurt from one day to the next so it helps having him around. It feels like he is always cautious of how I feel.
Q: How difficult was it to sit out the first year of baseball?
A: It's the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Watching them play and not being able to help because I know I could've helped. Seeing them struggle without the one pitcher they might've needed and also its really hard sitting in the stands watching.
Q: What was your goal coming into this season?
A: The first goal of the season was to not rip my ligament again, and the second was to become a starter, which I finally proved that I could. Then, the next goal was to help us get as many wins as we can to get us into the conference tournament.
Q: We're in fifth place right now. What are we going to have to do keep that standing?
A: We're going to have to try to sweep UTA and try to take the series from Texas State and Sam Houston State. Its going to come down to Sam for either us or them to make because we're all so close. I think its really key we take as many as we can from now on out.
Q: How much fun has it been this season?
A: Its been a lot of fun because the team is twice as good as it was last year. We can go out and have fun because we know we are just as good as any other team. I think Coach trusts us a little bit more now and he knows we're learning more and he doesn't have to gripe at us as much any more.
Q: Going back to your start against the Islanders in Corpus Christi. When did you realize you had a no-hitter going on?
A: I realized I had the no hitter when they hit the ground ball to Chris Smith and he made that really unbelievable play at third base and when a guy makes a play like that, it dawned on me that maybe it was going to happen because those are the plays that have to be made in order to get a no-hitter. It was a lot of fun because we had to win that game, first of all, and it kept us in the game, and everybody was excited. It's too bad I didn't get it, but at least we won.
Q: How fun was it watching the infielders?
A: You could see it in their eyes, they were ready to dive for one and wear one off the chest. (Zach) Gardner and (Kevin) Crabtree said they were ready to dive if any were hit anywhere near them in the gaps. I thought that was exciting to know that you're teammates were behind you to help you get it.
Q: Against UTSA, you gave up five hits, but shut them down pretty easily. And its pretty hard to have back-to-back unbelievable starts. Were you worried going in?
A: I think when I entered the game, I was a little tired from the last series and a little nervous because, like you said, no one ever seems to have back-to-back great games. But I think after the couple of innings, and I had a rough third inning when they got the bases loaded and I lost my head for a little bit. But after that, my body started to recover a little better and made it better for me because it went from cloudy to hot all of a sudden and it ended up being harder to adjust to the weather. But I caught my second wind and kind of coasted through it. The team made some great plays and it just worked out for me again.
Q: How good of a job is Kevin Croft doing behind the plate calling your pitches?
A: He is doing an unbelievable job. Kevin can see some things that most people can't see. Kevin can see more of what the batter is doing, if he's leaning in on a pitch, if he's sitting on his back foot or if he's sitting dead red. I think that helps out a lot and he knows me well enough to know what I can and can't throw. It's worked out pretty well so far.
Q: Now we're going to do something a little different. I'm going to name a teammate, and you just give me the first word that comes to mind about them. Jared Schrom?
Q: Steven Hill?
Q: Zach Gardner?
Q: Noel Trevino?
Q: Erik Gregersen?