Archive for June 1st, 2010

Game 51: Post-Game Notes (UPDATED WITH AUDIO)

June 1, 2010

– Check out my notebook and game story in The Trentonian tomorrow.

– Stay tuned for some quick audio clips…was a long day today and I’ve been sick for about three weeks now, so I don’t think I have it in me to do a full post-game notes thread.

UPDATED: Audio from Tony Franklin, Hector Noesi and Austin Krum

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 51: Pre-Game Notes (Jorge Vazquez Here? Laird POTW)

June 1, 2010

6:05 PM — Probably my last update for tonight before getting started on my gamer…

Cory Arbiso comes out of the Thunder rotation, Wilkin De La Rosa starts Thursday.

Kevin Smith goes on the DL to make room for Jorge Vazquez.  I believe they’re going with “hand injury” on this one.

Paul Bush’s injury is legit, however.  He had an MRI on his elbow today…could be serious.

4:40 PM — The Florida Marlins have signed former Thunder OF Seth Fortenberry out of independent ball…

4:25 PM — Tarp going back on.  Also, it feels like I’ve been here for 10 hours.

4:20 PM — Lineups are in…

PORTLAND

Nate Spears, 2B
Ryan Khoury, RF
Ray Chang, 3B
Luis Exposito, DH
Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Yamaico Navarro, SS
Juan Apodaca, C
Chih-Hsien Chiang, LF
Matt Sheely, CF

Jeremy Kehrt, P

TRENTON

Justin Christian, LF
Austin Krum, CF
Austin Romine, DH
Brandon Laird, 3B
Jorge Vazquez, 1B
Daniel Brewer, RF
Jose Gil, C
Luis Nunez, SS
Justin Snyder, 2B

Hector Noesi, P

4:15 PM — The Jorge Vazquez move is now official…however, it would put the team at 25 players.  This, of course, is not legal.  There is no word on a corresponding move just yet.  I have two guesses, but I’m not going to start publicly guessing about guys careers here.

3:50 PM — Tarp’s off the field.  Sweet.

2:50 PM — For what it’s worth — absolutely nothing four hours before the game — the field is tarped.  It is not raining at this time, but scattered showers may or may not hit the area.  They’re scattered…so, ummm…who knows?

2:45 PM — Yes, there would need to be a corresponding move to put Vazquez on the roster.  Obviously, I’ll be working on this story today…

2:40 PM — I’m actually at the ballpark now, and there appears to be a reward for getting here early.  According to a reliable source, Jorge Vazquez has been spotted at the ballpark.  After missing the beginning of the season due to an appendectomy, Vazquez appears to have been assigned to Double-A Trenton to start his 2010 campaign.

Last year, he hit .329 with 13 home run and 56 RBI in 57 games before being sidelined with a broken finger after stretching a double into a triple, of all things.  Vazquez’s conditioning and hustle came into question at times last year — both points fiercely defended by manager Tony Franklin — but there’s no doubting what kind of impact he can have on a lineup.

Also, congratulations are in order for Brandon Laird, who has been named the Eastern League Player of the Week.  Here’s a snippet from the team’s press release:

The Trenton Thunder announced today that third baseman Brandon Laird has been named the Eastern League Player of the Week for the week ending May 30th.  The 6’1”, 215 lb. slugger had an outstanding week for the Thunder, batting .448 (13-for-29) with four doubles, one triple, two home runs, 11 RBI, eight runs scored and a .862 slugging percentage while leading his team to a 5-2 record.  The highlight of the week for the 22-year old came on Wednesday night at Waterfront Park when Laird completed hitting for the cycle with a two-out, two-run walk-off homer in a 7-6 victory over Erie.  Laird joined former Thunder Shawn Garrett as the only two players in franchise history to complete the cycle. Laird’s 50 RBI leads the Eastern League and is second in ALL of professional baseball.

1:00 PM — Welcome to the “Pretending I’m Actually At The Ballpark This Early” version of the pre-game notes thread.  Basically, I’m just trying to maximize content on a day where I’m covering for The Trentonian and I’ve already got a few posts on here from today that I don’t want to get buried.

Anyway, the news of the day — so far, anyway — is Paul Bush being placed on the disabled list to make room for Grant Duff’s return to the roster.  Bush has made three appearances for the Thunder this season, all out of the bullpen, and has gone 0-2 with a 15.00 ERA.  He has a team-high WHIP of 2.33 and may still be recovering from elbow issues that shut him down at the end of last season, when he was briefly in the team’s starting rotation.

As for Duff, I’ll be curious to see if he returns to the closer role.  Ryan Pope recently picked up a save, and Eric Wordekemper is tied for the team lead (with Duff) with six saves.  The 27-year-old righty is 0-2 with a 2.41 ERA in 18 Double-A appearances this season, all games which he finished.

I’ll actually be at the ballpark a little before 3 PM…stay tuned for some more info then.  If anyone has any questions they want answered, drop them in the comments and I’ll see what I can do…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Texeira DFA’d By Mariners

June 1, 2010

According to The Seattle Times, the Seattle Mariners have designated 2009 Thunder standout Kanekoa Texeira for assignment.  The move gives the team ten days to make a move with Texeira — who must be offered back to the Yankees if he isn’t claimed on waivers, pursuant to the rules of the Rule 5 Draft.

Just 24 years old, Texeira used a strong spring training to make the Mariners out of camp despite having never pitched in Triple-A.  Unfortunately, the regular season did not go quite as smoothly for the friendly Hawaii native.

In 16 appearances, he was 0-1 with a 5.30 ERA.  He allowed 22 hits, walking ten batters and striking out 14 in 18.2 innings of work, good for a 1.71 WHIP.  But his last three outings are what likely did him in.  In 2.2 innings, he allowed four runs on six hits, walking three and striking out zero.

Last season with the Thunder, in a career high 101 1/3 innings, Texeira went 9-6 with a 2.84 ERA and two saves in 41 appearances, including six starts.  He was acquired by the Yankees after the 2008 season from the Chicago White Sox in the Nick Swisher deal.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Robnett Remembers Time With Yankees

June 1, 2010

All in all, Richie Robnett spent about three months of his career in the New York Yankees organization.  You may have already forgotten about the former first round pick.

Suffice it to say, however, that Robnett has not forgotten about his time with the Yankees.

The 26-year-old is now playing for the Camden Riversharks of the independent Atlantic League after five seasons in the Oakland farm system, and a half a season each with the Cubs and Yankees.  I recently sat down with the California-born outfielder and asked him about his brief stay in the organization and with the Thunder.

Mike Ashmore: You were with the Yankees organization for a few months last season, how did you feel like things went for you over there?

Richie Robnett: “I thought things went really well.  I liked the organization, I liked how they treated people.  I’d been with a couple of organizations before that, so I kind of had a idea of how things were done and I could kind of compare and contrast things that each organization did.  But I felt like they really respected their players, and they treated everybody the same, whether you were Alex Rodriguez or you were a guy like me, who they picked up mid-season.  That’s one thing that I really did like about it, just the care that they gave to the players and stuff like that.”

Ashmore: Most of that time came with Trenton, it seemed like you enjoyed it there as well…

Robnett: “(Trenton) had good fans, they made it fun to play there.  It’s always fun when you get to play with a good fan base, a good atmosphere.  It makes you lift your game up to another level, just because I feel like I’m more motivated to go out there and do well and stuff like that.  They had a good group of guys there last year, from what I remember.  All those aspects made it fun to play there.”

Ashmore: Was there a certain level of surprise for you to have to come to independent baseball for the first time?

Robnett: “Definitely.  I thought that I had a good opportunity by some team.  There’s 30 teams out there, I figured one of them would have had interest enough to pick me up and at least send me to spring training, at least that’s what I figured.  But I guess not.  I didn’t get to play that much in the ’09 season, so I think that was a big reason why teams didn’t want to pick me up, they probably didn’t have much of a report on me, if any.  I know they take that into consideration when picking up a free agent and stuff like that.  From that aspect, I don’t see why it wasn’t a surprise why I didn’t get picked up, but at the same time, I felt like I should have had a place somewhere with some team.  Going to independent ball, it’s not the worst thing in the world.  I like it here, just because you don’t have the pressures and stuff of trying to move up or you don’t have the politics of guys in front of you playing because he got paid more, it’s kind of like being in college again or high school, where you can just go out and play.”

Ashmore: Is there anything you feel like you need to work on to show teams you deserve another chance?

Robnett: “Definitely.  Teams always harp on strikeouts and things like that, but I mean, I think it’s such a small part of the game.  If you look at the positives that I do, I’m generally going to hit for power, I hit some doubles.  I’m not going to hit a crazy amount of home runs, but I’m going to hit home runs.  I can run, I play the outfield well, I’ve got a good arm.  I feel like I’m good enough right now to where I could be somewhere with an organization, but there’s always things you need to work on, especially as far as hitting goes.  Just being more consistent at the plate, but that just comes with playing every day.  I feel like you get more and more comfortable being in the box the more you play and the more at-bats you get.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com


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