Sometimes, when I’m pretty busy with things, Twitter is the best way for me to get information out quickly and succinctly. It also can be the only place I put things, which is a disservice to those who don’t use Twitter.
(Shameless plug: Follow me at @mashmore98)
So, there were a few newsworthy things that happened yesterday that I wanted to get to on here as well…
As you may have seen Josh Norris — who is doing a great job in Tampa and also a must-follow at @jnorris427 — report, Grant Duff, Reegie Corona (left) and Preston Mattingly have all been released by the Yankees organization.
Duff, 29, has spent the past seven seasons in New York’s farm system, and was once so highly regarded that the Yankees sent him to the Arizona Fall League. The friendly fireballer was severely hampered by injuries as of late, initially sidelined in June of 2010 after a stress fracture was diagnosed in his elbow, which ultimately led to the insertion of a screw. Duff pitched in just eight games last season before being shut down with shoulder trouble, and was with the Triple-A work group in spring training.
Corona broke his arm late in the 2010 season while with Triple-A Scranton and ultimately never played for the Yankees organization again. The 25-year-old Venezuelan infielder played in all or parts of three seasons for the Thunder, including the entire 2008 campaign. He was selected in the Rule 5 Draft by the Seattle Mariners in 2009, but was returned and went on to have a fine season for Trenton, being named to play in the Eastern League All-Star Game before being promoted to Triple-A.
In addition to Mattingly, however, I did some work of my own and got a hold of Mark Newman, who told me of the following Yankees prospects that have been released in addition to those three players:
P Gavin Brooks, P Noel Castillo, P Daniel Martinez, P Joaquin Hinojosa, P Cory Cowsert, P Yobanny Reyes, P George Isabel, P Ronny Marte.
Interestingly, all eight are pitchers…so clearly the organization is trying to get rid of some of their lower level pitching depth that they felt wasn’t going to progress. The only name Thunder fans might be familiar with is Castillo, who flamed out in both opportunities he got with Trenton in 2009 and 2010 to the tune of 23 earned runs in 26 2/3 innings pitched. He also walked 26 batters. Other than that, he did just fine.
In other news, and cue the Art Vandelay comment, former Thunder pitcher Anthony Claggett has agreed to a deal with the Atlantic League’s Somerset Patriots. Claggett, who reached the big leagues with both the Yankees and the Pirates, won a World Series ring in 2009, but was stuck in Double-A with Altoona as recently as last season. He spent all but four games of his season with the Curve last year, and the 27-year-old righty went 5-5 with a 3.75 ERA in 42 Double-A appearances.
And the Thunder added some more promotions to their already packed schedule. Most notably, there’s a giveaway of whatever the hell a “Robinson Ca-Gnome” is, and appearances by Larry Bowa and Giants punter Steve Weatherford. Here’s the team release on that…
(PR) (TRENTON, NJ) – The Trenton Thunder, the Double A Affiliate of the New York Yankees, announced new additions to its previously announced Promotional Schedule on Wednesday afternoon with a Robinson Ca-Gnome giveaway, celebrity appearances and NASCAR and football theme nights leading the way.
Gnomes were first used in Germany in the 1800′s as a way to protect gardens from evil sorcery and bring good luck. On Sunday, July 8, the first 1,800 Thunder fans ages six and older will take home a Collectible Garden Gnome that’s worthy of protecting even the lush turf at Yankee Stadium. The Thunder’s “Robinson Ca-Gnome” giveaway presented by Black Bear Franks will feature the likeness of former Thunder star and current Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano in traditional gnome attire, complete with a pointy cap.
Thunder fans will have two chances to meet prominent sports celebrities at the ballpark this year. On Tuesday, May 29, MLB Network’s Larry Bowa will be the Thunder’s special guest. Bowa, a 16 year Major League veteran, is a former All-Star and member of the 2,000 hit club. He spent most of his playing career with the Philadelphia Phillies and also managed in the Major Leagues including four seasons with the Phillies where he won the 2001 NL Manager of the Year award. The Thunder will also welcome Steve Weatherford of the New York Giants on Wednesday, June 20 thanks to Steiner Sports Collectibles. Weatherford is a 2011-12 Super Bowl Champion and Franchise Tagged Punter. Both Bowa and Weatherford will throw out a ceremonial pitch and be available for autographs on the main concourse.
Additional new giveaway items include White Eagle Printing Company presenting Thunder player posters to the first 2,000 fans on Tuesday, June 19 and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey supplying umbrellas to the first 1,500 fans ages 18 and older on June 25. The first 1,000 fans ages 21 and over at the Irish Heritage Celebration on August 9 will receive Pint Glasses thanks to Budweiser. On August 20, Kia Car Mugs will be given to the first 1,500 fans ages 18 and older thanks to KIA Motors.
Macy’s will present a pair of Back To School Nights at the ballpark this season. On July 31 and August 28, lucky fans will win valuable gift cards to Macy’s. Thunder players as well as mascot Boomer will visit the Macy’s locations at the Quaker Bridge Mall, Oxford Valley Mall, Neshaminy Mall and East Brunswick in support of the nights (dates TBD).
On Tuesday, August 1, Thunder fans will be thinking NASCAR as Pocono Raceway sponsors the game. The night will feature cars on display, opportunities to meet drivers and NASCAR Pennsylvania 500 promotions and prizes.
On Sunday June 10, Radio Disney will bring their Interactive Entertainment show featuring music, dancing, trivia, activities and prizes to Waterfront Park’s Times Square, the area outside the main gates. The show will be before the game, so fans are encouraged to arrive early and visit with Radio Disney personalities.
The Thunder have several fun theme night promotions in store for fans this year. On April 10, everyone is encouraged to dress in their most unattractive sweater as the Thunder celebrate Ugly Sweater Night (think 1980′s Bill Cosby and loud Christmas sweaters). Tuesday, August 7 will be the team’s Fourth Annual Mustache Bash – an evening full of facial hair themed fun. Saturday, August 18 will be the Thunder’s annual Football Kickoff Game and fans are asked to wear their favorite football jersey. There will be football themed entertainment throughout the evening.
Thunder players will wear special jerseys on two occasions this season. On Wednesday, July 4th, the team will wear the much publicized “stars and stripes” uniforms they wore at last year’s Independence Day game. The jersey worn by Derek Jeter in 2011 was auctioned off for charity but the rest were kept and will be worn again this season. On Wednesday, August 22 at 12:05pm, the team will sport desert camouflage themed jerseys in recognition of the men and women of the US Armed Forces.
The Thunder will host a special event for business professionals on Monday, April 9. This event, the second annual “Night of Networking” in the Yankee Club includes a presentation, buffet and the chance to network. A special ticket is required.
The Thunder are also bringing back popular daily promotions. All Tuesday night games are “Super Value Tuesdays” with Kids Eat Free Courtesy of On The Border and Dollar Hot Dogs thanks to Black Bear Franks. Thirsty Thursday presented by Budweiser will again feature Bud Light and Budweiser bottles for just $2 from gates open until the 5th inning. Sundays will feature the TD Bank Kids Fun Run, where kids can run around the bases after all afternoon games.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com