Archive for April 27th, 2008

Tabata WAS Suspended One Game

April 27, 2008

Have been able to confirm that Jose Tabata was suspended for this afternoon’s game. He is still with the team. It would hardly be surprising — considering the incident, his inability to hit consistently, and his admission that his hand still bothers him — for him to be sent down at some point.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Around the EL: Anthony Swarzak

April 27, 2008

Anthony Swarzak / Photo by Mike Ashmore

Anthony Swarzak came into the season as the Minnesota Twins 5th best prospect according to Baseball America

We talk about his prospect status, the tumultous start to his 2007 season, the benefits of finishing last year in the Eastern League and more…

Thunder Thoughts: Baseball America has you ranked as the Minnesota Twins 5th best prospect this year.  When you see something like that, does that mean anything to you?

Anthony Swarzak: “I think at a younger level, it means a lot more than it does now.  Now, it’s just you’re going to get an opportunity to do good, or you’re not.  At the Double-A or Triple-A level, if you perform, you’re going to get moved up, and if you don’t, you won’t.  That’s what it comes down to.  So not so much now as it used to.”

TT: With all the hype that’s surrounding you right now, is there any pressure that comes with that?

AS: “It’s not so much pressure.  I like to do good and everyone likes to have that prospect status, and everyone wants to keep that.  I just try to go out there and throw hard and throw strikes and get it done.”

TT: A few places have you projected as being a big leaguer as early as the end of this year.  Is that kind of the goal you have as well, to get there by the end of this season?

AS: “Absolutely.  I think that’s everybody’s goal in this clubhouse, as well as mine.  Nobody gets drafted and signed to play for the New Britain Rock Cats or the Trenton Thunder, you know.  But it all depends.  There’s been some other guys in the organization, like Kevin Slowey and Matt Garza, that blow through the organization much faster than me or any other guys have been doing.  It’s no big deal.”

TT: You were suspended 50 games at the beginning of last season.  How much of a hole did that put you in on the field, and do you feel like you’re finally getting out of it…

AS: “Absolutely, I feel like I’m putting it behind me.  Just put it behind me, and look towards the future.  I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job with that so far.”

TT: For someone who’s never seen you pitch, give me a scouting report on yourself…

AS: “I like to establish the fastball early, work it on both sides of the plate with that.  Throw some curveballs, a couple changeups, working on the slider.  That’s about it, you know.  Just keep it pretty simple.”

TT: How beneficial was your time in Double-A last year to your development this year?

AS: “Huge difference.  Everyone talks about the biggest jump in baseball is going from Single-A to Double-A, and when I got up here, I definitely struggled a little bit.  It’s a different kind of ballgame up here.  You can’t miss over the plate or up, because you won’t get that ball back, it’ll be a souvenir.  You just try to keep the ball down, and just worry about what you have to do.  It’s a definitely a pleasure being in this league a second time around when it comes to doing good.”

TT: Off the field, what kind of guy are you?

AS: “I try to be a nice guy, talk to anyone who wants to talk.  Off the field, I just try to work hard and take care of what I have to take care of.”

“Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 25: New Britain @ Trenton

April 27, 2008

NEWS: Several fans have e-mailed to say that after Jose Tabata’s seventh inning strikeout YESTERDAY, he got frustrated and slammed his bat down and simply left.  We can’t see inside the dugout from the press box.  One commenter reports he is serving a one-game suspension, but I have not been able to confirm this.  Hopefully will have more on this later.

Game 25 – New Britain Rock Cats @ Trenton Thunder
April 27, 2008
Waterfront Park – Trenton, NJ

Pitching Matchup: TRE Jason Jones (3-0, 1.80) vs. NB Jay Rainville (1-2, 9.53)

Starting Lineups:

New Britain

1 – Hughes
2 – Tolleson
3 – Peterson
4 – Moses
5 – Winfree
6 – Lis
7 – Plouffe
8 – Molina
9 – Butera

Trenton

1 – Ramiro Pena, SS
2 – Austin Jackson, CF
3 – Kevin Russo, LF
4 – Matt Carson, RF
5 – Cody Ehlers, 1B
6 – P.J. Pilittere, C
7 – Chris Malec, DH
8 – Carlos Mendoza, 3B
9 – Reegie Corona, 2B

Pre-Game Notes: The team travels to Connecticut for a three-game series that starts Tuesday — they’re off tomorrow — and then return home to play Portland starting Friday.

The pitching matchups for the series against the Defenders are as follows:

4/29 — CON Joey Martinez (0-3, 2.95) vs. TRE Chase Wright (3-1, 3.34)
4/30 — CON Brooks McNiven (1-1, 2.08 ) vs. TRE George Kontos (0-2, 3.55)
5/1 — CON Adam Cowart (1-1, 2.13) vs. TRE Dan McCutchen (3-1, 1.42)

Which would mean Phil Coke pitches against Portland on 5/2, followed by Jason Jones on 5/3 and then Wright again on 5/4.

Portland will tentatively send Michael Bowden to the mound on 5/2, then Kris Johnson 5/3 and Dustin Richardson on 5/4.  All big prospects for them.  Can’t wait.

Colin Curtis carries an 11-game hitting streak into the game, while Matt Carson’s streak is now at 13.

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.

Final Score: 7-5, Thunder

Post-Game Notes: Kevin Russo and Matt Carson were both one hit away from the cycle.  Russo scored four runs, and Carson drove in five.  J.B. Cox made his first Thunder appearance since September, 2006 and gave up two hits while striking out one in two innings.

Thunder Thoughts: The Justin Masterson YouTube video I posted just last week has already accumulated over 3,000 views. Odd.

There will be something on the site tonight. Either an “Around the EL” interview with Anthony Swarzak or the previously scheduled “Alumni Sunday” with Dave Eiland. Not sure yet…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Autism Awareness Day

April 27, 2008

As I’ve mentioned several times previously, the Thunder will be hosting their annual Autism Awareness Day today.

Thunder Thoughts will be making a small (see: all I can afford) donation for every home run hit by a Thunder batter today.

For information on how to make a donation as well, please contact me at mashmore98 AT gmail.com and we’ll figure something out.

Check Out This Freaking Curveball

April 27, 2008

I’m sure there’s a more professional headline than that, but seriously…check out David Robertson’s dirty, nasty, falls off the table curveball.

YouTube video here

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com