PHOENIX -- Just over three months removed from his second Tommy John surgery in two years, Cory Luebke said he felt like a real baseball player again this week, dressing with the Padres and shagging fly balls in the outfield at Chase Field before games.
"It's been different being here and not going on the field [for games] every day," said Luebke, who is splitting his rehabilitation between the team's facility in Peoria, Ariz., and in nearby Gilbert.
Luebke had another reason to come to Chase Field -- to commiserate and compared notes with D-backs pitcher Daniel Hudson, who has also had two Tommy John surgeries on his right elbow, the first in July 2012 and June 2013 as he was nearing the finish line in his rehabilitation.
Luebke's first surgery occurred on May 23, 2012, with the second one done Feb. 18 of this year.
"He's a good dude," Luebke said of Hudson. "We've talked about different it was the second time and about the throwing program and how it's different. He's had no setbacks, so that was good to hear."
Luebke is to the point in his rehabilitation where he's doing shoulder work and following much of the same protocol he did the first time around, though there are notable changes.
He's working out in Gilbert with Allen Gruver at the Postural Restorative Institute on his hips and his core more than he ever did before. That's where Hudson did some of his rehabilitation as well.
"There will be some changes," Luebke said when asked if his pitching mechanics will be different when he returns to the mound. "There's two or three things I was doing that didn't help the elbow, with my hips and my lead leg."
Luebke is hoping to pitch sometime in 2015. He said there was a feeling of isolation when the rest of the team broke camp late in March and he was left in Peoria. But he's come to terms -- again -- with his reality.
"This," he said of his rehabilitation, "is my job now."