Archive for May, 2010

Can’t Get Enough Of That Wonderful Duff

May 31, 2010

If the Scranton Yankees Twitter feed is to be believed, the Triple-A club has sent Grant Duff back to Trenton.  Because you just can’t fit that kind of information in 140 characters, there’s no word on a corresponding move for the Thunder…but no, seriously, I don’t know what the move is yet.

Duff, who was sent to the Arizona Fall League by the Yankees this off-season, made four appearances in his first regular season stint in the home of Dunder Mifflin, posting no record and a 6.00 ERA in six innings pitched.  He walked two, struck out six, and was credited with a hold.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Drabek Dominates Thunder

May 31, 2010

(PR) Manchester, NH- Trenton had no answer for top prospect Kyle Drabek, as they fell in the rubber game to the Fisher Cats 3-0 on Memorial Day in Manchester, NH. With the loss, the Thunder fall to 29-21 on the season.

New Hampshire would strike first off RHP D.J. Mitchell, as Adam Loewen led off the second inning with a double and then scored on an RBI single by Manny Mayorson to give the Fisher Cats a 1-0 lead. After Mitchell (4-3) gave up a double to Darin Mastroianni and walked Callix Crabbe to start the third inning, Eric Thames hit an RBI single to right field, increasing the Fisher Cat lead, 2-0. A sacrifice fly by Brad Emaus brought in Crabbe, and at the end of three innings, New Hampshire led 3-0.

The closest Trenton got to scoring was in the sixth inning with runners at first and second base, but RHP Kyle Drabek was able to get Justin Christian to fly out to right field and end the threat.

Drabek (7-4) tossed eight shutout innings, and gave up four hits, while striking out four. Danny Farquhar came on in the ninth inning and retired the side in order to earn his twelfth save of the year.

For Trenton, Kevin Mahoney went 2-for-3 off Drabek. Austin Romine extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the fourth inning.

The Thunder return home to face the Portland Sea Dogs at Waterfront Park on Tuesday night starting at 7:05 PM. RHP Hector Noesi starts for the Thunder. Portland has yet to announce a starting pitcher.

Thunder Thump Fisher Cats, 13-2

May 31, 2010

(PR) Manchester, NH- The Thunder hit four home runs on their way to a 13-2 win over the Fisher Cats on Saturday night in New Hampshire. With the win, Trenton is now 29-20 on the season.

In the first inning, Trenton sent eight batters to the plate against LHP Luis Perez (5-4), and they scored five runs on three hits, highlighted by an opposite field, two-run homer by Marcos Vechionacci. Brandon Laird’s two-run home run in the fifth inning increased the Trenton lead to 7-0.

RHP Lance Pendleton (3-2) would give up only two runs in the game, coming in the bottom of the fifth inning when David Cooper hit a two-run home run to right field to put the Fisher Cats on the board and make it a 7-2 Trenton lead. After Justin Christian singled to begin the seventh inning off LHP Boomer Potts, Austin Krum launched a two-run home run to right field to give the Thunder a 9-2 cushion. It was Krum’s first home run of the season.

Pendleton went on to pitch seven full innings. He allowed two runs on four hits and walked two, while striking out six.

In the ninth inning, Trenton loaded the bases on RHP Danny Farquhar, and Daniel Brewer broke a 3-for-35 skid with a grand slam to right field, giving Trenton a 13-2 lead. It was the third grand slam of the year for the Thunder, and the second on the road in New Hampshire.

For Trenton, Justin Christian and Brandon Laird had three hits apiece. Trenton was 6-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

The Thunder and Fisher Cats conclude their series on Monday afternoon at 1:35 PM in Manchester, NH. RHP D.J. Mitchell will start for the Thunder, and will be opposed by RHP Kyle Drabek for New Hampshire.

Surprise! It’s Kevin Mahoney…

May 30, 2010

Looking for Kevin Mahoney in this year’s Trenton Thunder media guide?  Give up.  He isn’t in there.

Now, wait a second, wait a second…don’t write those nasty e-mails to Bill Cook or Justin Shackil just yet.  There’s a good explanation for that.  Nobody thought the 2009 Yankees draft pick would be here…not even Mahoney himself.

“I didn’t expect this at all,” who was picked by Yankees 705th overall out of Canisius College in the 23rd round.

“Even when I spent spring training in Double-A, that was pretty shocking to myself.  But I was really excited when I got the call from Eric Schmitt.  I had been moving around a little bit.  I went to Tampa, and then I went to extended.  When he called me again, I figured I was going to go back to Tampa or something like that.  When he said, “We’re going to send you to Trenton,” I was like, ‘Uh…OK!  When do I leave?’  I was really excited.”

That’s all well and good, of course, but the reality of the situation — for the time being, anyway — is that Mahoney is an extra body who is going to be lightly used and will likely be sent back down once David Adams recovers from his sprained ankle.  None of this is news to Mahoney.

“I mean, I can’t really expect to play in Double-A when I’ve never even played with these guys before,” he said.

“I spent my first year in rookie ball, and you can’t expect to play over guys who’ve been in Double-A for a year or two years who’ve went through the ladder step-by-step.  I understand why I’m here, and I’m more than happy to be here.”

The list of players who’ve filled Mahoney’s role is a long one.  Some either have made it back up or are on the path to getting back here, like Walter Ibarra, who was with the club for a while in 2008.  Others, like Russell Raley, never were able climb that ladder again.  However, when asked to describe himself as a player, it seems the fresh-faced 23-year-old has an edge to his game that could benefit him down the road.

“To sum it all up, I guess I could say I’m scrappy,” Mahoney told me.

“I’ll get my hits, but I guess the best part of my game is my defense.  I know the Yankees know that.  Last year, the low offensive numbers were very unlike myself.  But this year, it’s been a lot different hitting wise, but still, defense is my thing.  It’s what I do.”

Mahoney played third base at Canisius, but currently profiles as a utility guy in the Yankees minor league system, and hopes to be a “Kevin Russo-type player” one day, as he hopes to learn to play the outfield sometime down the road.

But, for as long as he’s in the infield, Mahoney has been able to learn from the various coaches he’s been able to play for in his two seasons in the Yankees system.  Being in Trenton has given him a chance to be under the tutelage of Jody Reed, a long-time Major League infielder who now serves as the Yankees minor league infield coordinator and has been at Waterfront Park recently.

“I’m fortunate that Jody’s up here,” Mahoney said.

“I’ll pick coaches brains, and I like to pick Jody’s brain a lot.  Him and I are a little alike.  He’s a smaller guy, but he was able to play ten years in the big leagues.  He hit the ball, but he played defense.  I’m the same type of player, so I like to pick his brain.  Frank (Menechino), too.  Frank and I always have good conversations, he was another scrappy guy who made it to the big leagues.”

Being one of the more inexperienced guys on the team, Mahoney’s trying to pick up bits and pieces from everyone, and that includes his teammates.

“On the bench, I’ll try to watch what guys do and try to incorporate that into what I do,” he said. 

“I’ll see Brandon Laird going nuts (the other day) with the cycle, and I try to see what he does differently than what I do, and I try to incorporate that.  It’s a learning process, I want to learn quicker than most other guys would.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Thunder Split Doubleheader With Fisher Cats

May 30, 2010

(PR) Manchester, NH- After coming away with a 3-1 in the first game, the Thunder had no answer for New Hampshire in game two, as they were silenced 7-0, and split Saturday’s doubleheader in Manchester. With the split, Trenton is now 28-20 on the season.

For the second straight game against New Hampshire, Trenton was able to take an early lead, as they scored in the first inning off LHP Chuck Huggins. Austin Krum walked with one out and came around to score on an RBI double by Brandon Laird to give Trenton a 1-0 lead.

New Hampshire tied it up at one in the third inning, as Jonathan Jaspe scored on a groundout by Manny Mayorson. The run was unearned, as Brandon Laird committed his second error of the game earlier in the frame.

Trenton took the lead for good in the sixth inning, scoring two runs on three hits, including an RBI single by Austin Romine to go up 3-1.

RHP Ryan Pope pitched the final two innings and struck out four to earn his first save of the year. LHP Wilkin De La Rosa (2-2) pitched five innings and allowed one unearned run on one hit.

In game two, New Hampshire RHP BJ LaMura (1-0) pitched six innings, and held Trenton to only two hits while striking out nine.

RHP Cory Arbiso (0-1) nearly pitched a perfect first inning, but a throwing error by Luis Nunez extended the inning and New Hampshire scored twice on two hits in the first. Arbiso would give up four more runs, including a two-run home run by Shawn Bowman in the fourth to put the Fisher Cats up 6-0. RHP Paul Bush walked in a run later in the inning to extend their lead, 7-0.

Brandon Laird was the only Thunder hitter to get hits in each game.

The Thunder and Fisher Cats will play game four of their weekend series on Sunday night at 7:05 PM. RHP Lance Pendleton starts for the Thunder, while New Hampshire starts LHP Luis Perez.

Castillo Sent Down (Again), Whelan Back

May 29, 2010

(PR) (TRENTON NJ) The Trenton Thunder, Double A Affiliate of the New York Yankees, announced today that RHP Noel Castillo has been transferred to Single-A Tampa and that RHP Kevin Whelan has been placed on the Trenton roster.

Castillo, 26, pitched in 17 games for the Thunder this season, and is 3-2 with a 6.27 ERA. In 18.2 innings of work, Castillo has given up 15 runs on 12 hits and has walked 16 batters, while striking out 20.

Whelan, 26, is 1-1 with a 9.49 ERA in ten games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2010. He pitched for Trenton in 2009, going 4-0 with a 2.63 ERA in 30 appearances. This is will be his fourth stint with the Thunder.

The Thunder play a doubleheader on Saturday against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats starting at 6:05 PM in Manchester, NH. LHP Wilkin De La Rosa starts for the Thunder in the first game, and New Hampshire will throw LHP Chuck Huggins. In game two, RHP Cory Arbiso will get the start for Trenton, while RHP B.J. LaMura goes for the Fisher Cats.

Thunder Lose Late Lead, Lose Game

May 29, 2010

(PR) Manchester, NH- For the second time in ten days off the bat of Shawn Bowman, New Hampshire walked off with a win against Trenton, defeating the Thunder in 7-6 in ten innings. With the loss, Trenton falls to 27-19 on the year.

The Thunder took advantage of a wild RHP Zach Stewart in the early innings. Trenton scored five runs in the first two innings on a combined seven hits, with Austin Krum driving in the last two runs. The Trenton lineup led off the second inning with five straight hits off Stewart.

RHP David Phelps allowed his only run of the game in the fourth inning on a groundout from Adam Loewen, which scored Brad Emaus from third to cut the Trenton lead to 5-1. The Thunder went up 6-1 in the seventh on an RBI single from Brandon Laird, scoring Austin Romine.

Phelps went on to pitch 7 2/3 innings, and after the Thunder retired the first two batters in the bottom of the eighth inning, Darin Mastroianni reached base on a fielding error by Brandon Laird to extend the frame. LHP Wilkins Arias came in and walked Adam Calderone, and then surrendered a three-run, inside-the-park home run to Eric Thames that cut the Thunder lead 6-4.

After going down in order in the ninth, RHP Josh Schmidt surrendered a double to Adam Loewen, and then gave up a game-tying two-run home run to David Cooper to send the game to extra innings with both teams tied at six.

In the top of the tenth, Trenton left the go-ahead run in scoring position. Schmidt came out to pitch the bottom half and walked Thames to lead off the inning. After Austin Romine threw away a sacrifice bunt laid down by Emaus, Bowman hit a walk-off single to score Thames for the game-winner.

The Thunder and Fisher Cats will play a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 6:05 PM. In game one, LHP Wilkin De La Rosa will start for the Thunder, while New Hampshire starts LHP Chuck Huggins. Trenton gives the ball to RHP Cory Arbiso in game two, and the Fisher Cats go with RHP B.J. LaMura.

Hector Noesi Videos

May 28, 2010

Enjoy…figured this probably got buried in the game thread.  Also, I’ll have a Kevin Mahoney story sometime in the next few days…Phil Hughes cutter story is on the way, too.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Post…Uhhh…Suspended Game Notes

May 27, 2010

Actually, there’s a lot to write about.  It’s nice to actually get home early, because I can give you more stuff from the pre-game chats and do a little bit better with the post-game notes as well…even if, ummm…there was no game.

** The stats do count, as this was a suspended and not postponed game.  The teams were tied 0-0, in the top of the 4th.  Hector Noesi was working a 2-1 count with nobody on base.

** Noesi was good, but everyone who wanted some form a scouting report on him, tonight’s not your night.  He was only able to go 3+ innings due to the rain.  I did see his fastball at 93 MPH twice, and his control was pretty good for the most part…but I’d love to have the opportunity to see him again. 

A native of the Dominican Republic, Noesi’s stuff is developing, as well as his English.  When I approached him by his locker after the game, he told me to take it very slowly with him…and it’s clear he’s not 100% comfortable with the language just yet.

“I feel great today,” Noesi said.

“You always got to focus to do what you’ve got to do.  Right now, I’ve got to work with my slider.  (The rain) that’s going to happen sometimes.”

Despite the rain, Thunder manager Tony Franklin was impressed by Noesi’s brief outing.

“He was pretty good,” he said.

“The thing that I think he does very well is command his fastball on both sides of the strike zone.  He did that for the three innings he was out there.”

Evidence of that command was several of those strikeouts being of the looking variety…

“If you go in, go in, go in, up and in, up and in, up and in, then away…boom, it’s kind of difficult to get on that pitch.  So yeah, he might get a lot of called third strikes out there.”

Noesi recalled the moment when he found out he was coming to Trenton…

“It made me nervous,” he said.

“Like wow, it’s quick.  One month with Tampa Yankees, and I was ready to be in Double-A.  But I never get nervous.  My first time in Portland, I was like a little, little nervous.  Not too nervous.”

** Daniel Brewer seems to be OK, but that was a scary moment for a little while.  Brewer feared he snapped his wrist on his inning-ending diving catch in the second.

“To be honest, I thought it snapped,” Brewer told me.

“I thought something was wrong with it because it was kind of locked in a position.  Then, my glove fell off and I was able to squeeze it and had good strength there.  But right off the bat, the way I came in, I thought something happened.”

Brewer described the play…

“When I dove, my wrist and my glove kind of got caught in the grass underneath me,” Brewer said.

“I just kept rolling and rolled on top of it and just jammed it.  Nothing too severe or anything, I’ll be fine.  Probably a little sore tomorrow.  Right after it happened, I went under (into the cage) and took a couple swings.  It was a little stressful on the follow-through, but nothing bad.”

** Neall French stopped by before the game and said his goodbyes to his teammates and coaches.  He apparently has some batting cages he runs back in Cleveland, so he’ll be occupied in his early retirement.

“Here’s a guy who wasn’t playing and was on the disabled list and catching in the bullpen for us.  He didn’t see an opportunity for himself to play,” Franklin said.

“He discussed it with the administration in Tampa, got some answers and he’s decided to call it a career.  So he’s no longer on our roster.  We’re going to miss him, he was a very nice guy.  He did everything the Yankees asked him to do.  The third catcher helps us out tremendously and we’re not going to have that anymore.  I wish him well.”

Franklin talked about the decision French made…

“It’s a very difficult decision to take the uniform off and say it’s over,” he said.

“I had to do it.  I was forced to do it, to be honest with you.  When you get to that fork in the road, it’s a very difficult decision.”

** Jose Gil hitting 5th in the lineup was an interesting choice…usually he hits a little lower.  So I asked Franklin about it before the game.

“I just try to place guys in the lineup where they’re probably going to be of the most benefit to us,” he said.

“A lot of times I’ll look at it as no speed, some speed, speed, possible hit and run guy here.  All of those things are kind of factors.  But I think Jose’s a pretty good hitter, even though he hasn’t played a lot.  He’s got some offensive ability, and I’m just trying to get as much offense in the lineup as I possibly can.  If we have to do a hit and run, I think he can probably do it.”

Franklin pointed to Justin Christian not playing today and Brewer usually being in that spot as reasons — saying Brewer is the one guy he can use in the lineup from anywhere from 1 to 9.

** Brandon Laird was still getting a lot of ink, chatting it up with Tyler Kepner of The New York Times and Ken Mandel from the Bucks County Courier Times before the game.

“Some people were kind of born with a bat in their hands,” Franklin said.

“When you see a kid like this who’s able to cover the outside part of the plate and he doesn’t have any fear of doing it…he handles good pitches out there.  He can hit in very clutch situations, game on the line type situations.  You’ve got to be impressed with this kid.  He came advertised as an offensive threat, and he’s shown the ability to hit very well.”

Defensively?

“He’s not a bad defender either,” Franklin said.

“He’s got a great arm, he’s got sure hands.  He’s got a bright future ahead of him.”

** Franklin hoped to be able to play new utility man Kevin Mahoney at some point in the near future.

“I’ve always said that everybody on this team is important,” he said.

“Right now, Kevin’s role is utility player.  But I talked to him today, and I know he’s hurting and I know he wants to play.  I didn’t know until a day or two ago that he’s from this area here…we’re going up to New Hampshire and I think he has some family coming to the game.  I’m certainly going to try and play him when his family’s there, that would be a thrill for them and for him.  I’m not playing him because his family’s coming, I’m playing him because I think he’s going to help us win.  Kevin played for us during the spring, and he did some pretty good things.”

** David Adams told me after the game he’s “day to day.”  In speaking to Franklin before the game though, it seems the wait will be much longer than just a few days…

“He’s a ways away, a long ways,” he said.

“Don’t expect to see him back any time soon for a couple reasons.  One, we’re going to be very cautious with him.  I think that’s the right thing to do, not to rush him back.  The other thing, this is the first he’s sprained the ankle and it’s going to take some time.  I’d much rather him miss two weeks, three weeks than have him miss two months.”

Franklin later said that 2-3 weeks isn’t the exact timetable, and they’re going to play it by how Adams feels.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game Suspended (UPDATED)

May 27, 2010

The game between the Trenton Thunder and Erie SeaWolves has been suspended in the top of the 4th inning.  Details to follow…

UPDATE — As the SeaWolves do not return to Waterfront Park this season (and thank goodness for that, they’re tough to watch sometimes) the game will most likely be picked up on June 23rd or 24th in Erie.  Fans looking for information regarding their tickets for tonight’s game should visit the team’s official website, trentonthunder.com, for more information.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com


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