Jesús Luzardo left nine tickets for family and friends to watch his Miami Marlins debut at loanDepot Park on Monday night, but he told reporters after the game that his cheering section actually had more than 100 people in it.
Luzardo, traded by the Athletics to the Marlins for outfielder Starling Marte last week, did not disappoint those that came to cheer him on as he helped Miami beat the New York Mets 5-3.
Luzardo had a problem giving up homers during his time with the A's this season, and he allowed another one to Mets star Pete Alonso in the third inning Monday, but the 23-year-old lefty managed to get through five innings. He allowed four hits, three earned runs, three walks and struck out five.
Luzardo's line wasn't sparkling, but he did get credit for the win, and during a rocky 2021 season, that has to feel good for the former top prospect, especially with so many people there to support him.
"It meant a lot, just being back home, being in front of a lot of family and friends," Luzardo told reporters in Miami after the game. "Growing up watching this team, rooting for this team, just meant a lot. I know it meant a lot to my parents, meant a lot to me. Glad to be home."
Luzardo was lit up for a 6.87 ERA in 38 innings over 13 appearances for the A's this season, so they sent him to Triple-A to iron out his issues. The results in Las Vegas weren't much better, as he posted a 6.52 ERA in 29 innings over eight starts.
With Luzardo struggling at both levels, and the A's offense needing a boost, they sent the uber-talented lefty back home to Miami for Marte, who is a one-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award winner.
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The trade last Wednesday stunned those that follow the A's and it even caught Luzardo off guard.
"It was a whirlwind of a day for me," Luzardo told reporters. "Just got off a plane from Salt Lake City to Vegas. I found out on Twitter that I had gotten traded. Then I obviously packed up all my stuff, got on a flight to Oakland and that's when it all started. Had to go get my stuff. I mean, I was very excited. Obviously, I was down because I was leaving a lot of good friends on the other side that I came up with on the A's. I gave them all I had when I was over there.
"But then coming over here, I think it's an exciting opportunity, as well as joining a great group of guys, great group of young guys and I know they have a lot of fun here, so I'm excited to be a part of it and see what I can do and how I can help."
Luzardo was caught off guard by the trade from the A's to the Marlins, but for a young pitcher struggling to live up to his vast potential, going home to Miami might just be the best thing that could have happened to him.