June 19, 2013 by Wayne McBrayer with photos by Rebecca Herman
ON THE FARM AT LAKE ELSINORE
~~WITH LUIS DE LA CRUZ, MAY 25, 2013~~
At 6 foot 6 inches, Luis De La Cruz is an imposing figure on the mound. The Padres signed Luis as a non-drafted free agent on February 8, 2007 and started him with their Dominican Summer League (DSL) club. He spent 2007 and 2008 there honing his craft. He was a starter with DSL but struggled so the Padres moved him to the bullpen and also promoted him to the Arizona Fall League for the 2009-2010 seasons. In 2011, the Padres sent Luis to Eugene where he settled into his role in the bullpen. Pitching 48 innings for the Emeralds, he walked 20 hitters while striking out 43 with one Save. In 2012, the Padres promoted Luis to Fort Wayne where he struggled some but the Padres still believed in him enough to send him to Lake Elsinore for the 2013 season. He struggled the first month there, but has pitched well in May, giving up runs in only 2 of his 9 appearances.
Click HERE to access his up-to-date stats.
We caught up with Luis before the game on May 25, 2013 to talk with him. He was concerned that his English wasn’t very good, but we assured him we knew he would be just fine. I asked Luis about his earliest baseball memory and the first thing that came to mind was “watching Pedro Martinez pitching on TV” when he was a kid. Luis talked to us about playing ball when he was young and mentioned he started playing Little League when he was 8 years old. When it came to players he loved, he once again brought up Pedro Martinez and Craig Kimbrel, both hard throwing pitchers. I asked what Luis’ proudest moment was as a player and he quickly said, “Everyday is happy for me. I enjoy every chance I get to play on the field.” We wrapped things up by asking what type of job he would have if he wasn’t playing baseball. In what was Luis’ quickest answer he said, “Barbershop.”
Lake Elsinore is a terrific ballpark and a great place to take in some wonderful baseball (see schedule). We highly recommend you take a drive up the I-15 and enjoy a ballgame at The Diamond! And maybe see Luis De La Cruz pitch!