Lucchesi takes 106.3 mph line drive off chest, gets the out on next pitch

August 31st, 2023

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- For pitchers, comebackers can be a nightmare. The one Joey Lucchesi took off his body on Wednesday barely fazed him.

Phillies Minor Leaguer Aramis Garcia hit a 106.3 mph comebacker off Lucchesi’s chest during a Triple-A game at Lehigh Valley, catching enough of his pectoral muscle to reduce the impact on his collarbone. When the ball struck him, Lucchesi fell to a knee and initially had trouble swallowing. But he recovered quickly and, after a few warm-ups, retired the next batter he faced on a single pitch.

“It happened so fast,” Lucchesi said. “I was in shock. But I had a lot of adrenaline. I didn’t really feel anything.”

By the time the game ended, Lucchesi was feeling mostly normal, save for a bright pink welt on his chest. He allowed four runs in five innings on the night, increasing his ERA at Triple-A Syracuse to 4.64.

That number, however, doesn’t tell the complete story of Lucchesi’s season. He’s been significantly more successful when given chances in the Majors, including a spot start earlier this month that lowered his big league ERA this season to 3.54. Lucchesi figures to see more time in Queens in September, though it’s not clear exactly how much.

“I feel like my stuff plays better, everything’s better up there,” Lucchesi said. “I want to be up there.”