Archive for September 1st, 2008

His Season’s Not Dunn

September 1, 2008

The Tampa Yankees had played their last game of the season yesterday, and Mike Dunn had every intention of heading into his truck and driving to Las Vegas.

Instead, he ended up on a flight up north and arrived in the Thunder clubhouse at 9:30 in the morning, carrying a Yankees equipment bag with his name embroidered in white script lettering on the top.

Unexpected for sure, but certainly a pleasant surprise.

“After the game, the manager called me in his office and goes, ‘When are you planning on driving home,’” recalled Dunn.

“We were in Fort Myers, so I said, ‘As soon as the bus stops in Tampa, I’m getting in my truck and heading for Vegas.’  And he goes, ‘Ahhh, no you’re not.’ and I was like OK.  I kind of was hoping for it to happen.”

While he wasn’t one of the first names you’d think of you heard someone was coming to Trenton from Tampa, he was still pretty confident that his season wasn’t over just yet.

“I thought I had a pretty good chance being that they only had one lefty in their bullpen,” he said.

Dunn, who made the majority of his appearances this season as a starter, will be coming out of the bullpen in the postseason for the Thunder.  He told me that he prefers being a reliever, saying he loves it.

He utilizes a fastball that tops out at around 94 MPH, a slider and a changeup.

“I just like going at guys, if they beat me, they beat me.  But I’m going to throw my best pitch to them,” he said.

Just a few years back, it was Dunn who was trying to hit the opposition’s best pitches, as he was drafted as a first baseman/outfielder.  He joins Kevin Whelan in the bullpen as former position players making the transition to the mound.

“In May of ’06, they converted me to the mound,” he said.

“It’s been going real well ever since.  For me, it wasn’t really that difficult because I’d pitched in the past, so it wasn’t like it was the first time I’d ever got on a mound.  I had a pretty good idea mechanically and what pitches I would throw.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Franklin Happy With His Three New Pitchers

September 1, 2008

Rather than try to churn some poorly-written feature out of this, I’ll just share Tony Franklin’s quotes about Humberto Sanchez, Christian Garcia and Mike Dunn from today’s post-game media session:

FRANKLIN ON HUMBERTO SANCHEZ

“This is my first time seeing him pitch.  Talking to Scott (Aldred), the guy has got a very good arm.  I don’t think his velocity is back to where it’s going to get, but it’s the same as Pavano, his velocity wasn’t back.  But the guy knows how to pitch.  He’s got a heck of a curveball, he has a lot of depth to it.  Just a curveball rotation, the ball goes 12 to 6.  And he’s got a heck of a changeup, so he’s got three pretty good pitches that he can use.  And he certainly can locate his fastball.  He did a very nice job.”

FRANKLIN ON CHRISTIAN GARCIA

“Again, this is my first time seeing Chris pitch, and this guy’s got a very good arm.  Just a nasty changeup, nasty changeup.  And his curveball’s pretty good too.  I’ve said this for two years, the Yankees have some pitching depth within their organization.  There are some young guys, an some guys who’ve had surgery and maybe haven’t pitched a whole lot and are starting to make their way to this level.  Melancon is one that it’s happened to this year, Claggett had some issues earlier this year.  And now here comes Christian after surgery, and now Sanchez.”

FRANKLIN ON MIKE DUNN

“(He was) very good.  You know what they’ve (all three) got, they’ve got good fastballs.  And when you’ve got good fastballs, you’ve got a chance to do some other good things.  All three of those guys who pitched today, they’ve got that.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Sanchez: “I Feel Great”

September 1, 2008

I was able to catch up with Humberto Sanchez just before he was heading out of the clubhouse to meet up with his family, who attended the game.

His line (1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 K) was somewhat of a mixed bag, but Sanchez’s spirits were pretty high after the game.

“I feel great,” he said.

“The last two or three weeks, the command has been good.  It feels like I’m getting stronger every inning, it’s been improving every time out.”

Sanchez was told that he will be staying with the team throughout the postseason, and that he will be coming out of the bullpen.  How frequently he’ll be used is up in the air, but he will not be used on back-to-back days.

While he’s certainly happy to be pitching on a team that’s headed to the postseason, he certainly wasn’t willing to take any credit for their success.

“These guys, they get all the credit,” he said.

“They busted their (rear ends) for 140 games, and they put themselves in a playoff situation.  It just happened that this is the team they wanted me to join for the playoffs, but it’s great to be in this type of environment.”

Sanchez also said he had no idea whether the Yankees were planning on calling him up after the Thunder postseason is over, and that he hadn’t been told anything by them regarding that.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 140: Connecticut @ Trenton

September 1, 2008

Game 140 – Connecticut Defenders @ Trenton Thunder
September 1, 2008
Waterfront Park – Trenton, NJ

Pitching Matchup: TRE Humberto Sanchez vs. CON Joey Martinez

Starting Lineups:

Connecticut

1 – Rosario
2 – Richardson
3 – Klink
4 – Alfonzo
5 – Witter
6 – Sosa
7 – Martinez-Esteve
8 – Maroul
9 – Cordido

Trenton

1 – Corona
2 – Pena
3 – Jackson
4 – Curtis
5 – Russo
6 – Pilittere
7 – Malec
8 – Gonzalez
9 – Cooper

Pre-Game Notes: Spoke to Mike Dunn for a little bit before the game, I’ll probably have that up tonight…

Special thanks to home clubhouse manager Tom “Tonto” Kackley for letting the media partake in the consumption of the breakfast spread in the clubhouse.

Radio Links: Click here for the links to each team’s broadcast.

Live Box Score: The MILB.com direct link is here.

Around the Eastern League: For scores from around the EL, go here.

Sanchez WATCH: He threw 16 pitches in the first inning, allowing a run on two doubles.  He also struck out two.  5 balls, 11 strikes.

He’s out of the game, removed for Christian Garcia. 

Sanchez was pitching between 89-92 MPH on the gun.

In-Game Updates (LIVE from the ballpark): 1-0, Defenders, B2.  Two hard hit doubles were allowed by Sanchez to score the run, but he also struck out two.

2-1, Thunder, B6.  Sanchez is off the hook, and Garcia could get his first Double-A win in his first appearance.

Mike Dunn came in to make his Double-A debut and promptly gave up two inherited runners to tie the score at three here in the seventh.  Garcia walked six batters and struck out five…a so-so debut.  Garcia was also at 90-92 MPH on the gun.  Dunn was at 94 MPH.

Jose Valdez in the game in the 9th to try to seal the deal.  4-3, Thunder, T9.

In-Game Photos:

Christian Garcia

Garcia

Garcia

Garcia

Chris Malec

P.J. Pilittere

Humberto Sanchez

Sanchez

Sanchez

Sanchez

Sanchez

Sanchez

Sanchez

Mike Dunn

Dunn

Dunn

In-Game YouTube Videos: Humberto Sanchez VIDEO, Humberto Sanchez VIDEO 2, Humberto Sanchez VIDEO 3, Humberto Sanchez VIDEO 4, Humberto Sanchez VIDEO 5, Humberto Sanchez VIDEO 6, Christian Garcia VIDEO, Christian Garcia VIDEO 2, Christian Garcia VIDEO 3, Christian Garcia VIDEO 4, Christian Garcia VIDEO 5, Mike Dunn VIDEO, Mike Dunn VIDEO 2

Final Score: 4-3, Thunder.

Post-Game Notes: The Thunder finish the year 32 games over .500 at 86-54.

Thunder Thoughts: The team is getting the day off tomorrow, and will not be having any sort of workout, etc.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

The Cole Train Departs For Bowling Green

September 1, 2008

It’s Greg Coleman’s last day working for the Trenton Thunder, but never fear…the man will be heading to a somewhat familiar spot.

The team’s assistant general manager will be heading down to Bowling Green to re-unite with Brad Taylor, the Thunder’s former general manager who left the team several weeks ago to get started down there.

As for Coleman, he’s got quite the impressive resume, and the Bowling Green franchise is lucky to have him. 

Coleman, 34, has been in professional baseball for 11 years. Prior to joining Trenton, he spent two years (2004-05) as the Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of the start-up Golden Baseball League in California. Previously, Greg worked for five seasons with the Advanced-A Modesto A’s of the California League, where he served as Assistant General Manager, General Manager and Vice President. Under his leadership in 2003, Modesto captured the Bob Freitas Award, which is given annually by Baseball America to recognize franchise excellence in Minor League Baseball. Greg was named the 2002 American Sports Entertainment Executive of the Year. His other professional experience includes a term as the Director of Sales and Promotions for the Double-A Orlando Rays of the Southern League and Director of Marketing for the Daytona Cubs of the Advanced-A Florida State League.

Coleman graduated from Steinert High School in Hamilton, NJ in 1992 and The College of New Jersey in Ewing, NJ in 1996. Greg and his wife, Shanda, have two children, Kevin (5) and Maggie (10 months).

I must say that I’ll miss Greg.  I enjoyed my interactions with him over the past few years, and was able to relate to him early on with our backgrounds in independent ball.  With Brad and Greg at the helm in Bowling Green, there’s no way that won’t be one of the most successful franchises in all of baseball.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

It’s a Dunn Deal

September 1, 2008

Special thanks to Eric Lipsman for the inspiration on that lovely headline.

In any event, the pitcher the Thunder are receiving from Tampa is Michael Dunn.

Dunn is 4-7 with a 4.55 ERA in 30 appearances, 22 of them starts.  He has 118 strikeouts and 58 walks in 124.2 innings pitched.

A lefty, Dunn is just 23 years old and was drafted in the 33rd round in 2004.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

More Moves Coming

September 1, 2008

I’m at the ballpark now, and there are apparently more moves to be announced.

I know for sure that Zach Kroenke has officially been assigned to Scranton, but apparently there’s a new pitcher here from Tampa.  Don’t have a name yet, I just know that he hasn’t pitched here this season.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com


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