Jesús Luzardo threw four hitless innings Thursday in the A's spring training win over the Texas Rangers, giving us a taste of what he can do in a very promising 2021 season.
Luzardo struck out five in those four frames, walking four and was able to do it on a variety of pitches, including some slow breaking balls and some fastballs in the 97 mph range. One of his blazing heaters came quickly after one of his curveballs hit only 65 mph on the radar. It proves how valuable he is and how he's still growing as a pitcher while experimenting with new pitches.
“It definitely does and I’ve known that [slow curveball] since [pitcher in the A's organization] Brian Howard showed me in Double-A, but I was just kind of tentative to throw it my first year in the big leagues,” Luzardo said on Thursday. “I didn’t know how it would work.”
He found some confidence in it though. The 65-mph curveball is what he calls “the turkey sub.” Yep, like the sandwich.
“It just gets the job done … it’s nothing crazy,” Luzardo said.
“It was pretty smooth,” Luzardo added on his overall outing. He admitted he struggled to throw a fastball strike to the first batter and Rangers slugger Joey Gallo could be a menace in the box.
It was a great outing for the 23-year-old, and was exactly what A’s manager Bob Melvin anticipated heading into it.
“He digests things and is very understanding in what he needs to work on, he evaluates himself very well,” Melvin said prior to the game.
“Certain guys would struggle, not used to seeing some guys hit him around a little bit,” Melvin added.
Across 12 games in 2020, Luzardo posted a 4.12 ERA with 59 strikeouts in just as many innings.
“That’s probably the first time in his career, but I think he actually evaluates it the right way and is motivated to get better and when you have that kind of stuff, seems like he’s the entire package," Melvin said.
"I expect him to have a really good year."