Archive for July, 2008

Melancon and Wright to Scranton, Plus More

July 28, 2008

BREAKING NEWS — Mark Melancon and Chase Wright promoted to Scranton.  Wilkins Arias and Steven White to Trenton.  Eric Wordekemper to Tampa.

More later…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

UPDATED WITH AUDIO: Coke Refutes Failed Physical Claims

July 28, 2008

I asked Phil Coke two questions in the clubhouse today…

Did you fail a physical?

Have you ever failed a physical with the Yankees?

The answer to both questions: “No.”

What else do I even need to say?

UPDATE: Click here to download the audio of Coke’s answers.  In case there’s some ridiculous scenario in which people don’t believe either me or him, I want you to hear it…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 107: Altoona @ Trenton

July 28, 2008

NEWS: Chase Wright will skip tonight’s start due to unknown reasons — Michael Gardner to take his place tonight.  Eric Wordekemper to start Wednesday.  Phil Coke moving to the bullpen, will throw every 2-3 days.

Game 107 – Altoona Curve @ Trenton Thunder
July 28, 2008
Waterfront Park – Trenton, NJ

Pitching Matchup: TRE Mike Gardner vs. ALT Christian Castorri

Starting Lineups:

Altoona

1 – Dorta
2 – Ford
3 – Webster
4 – Corley
5 – Delaney
6 – Boone
7 – Cruz
8 – Bowers
9 – Perez

Trenton

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

Pre-Game Notes: Phil Coke may pitch in relief as early as tonight to back up Michael Gardner.  Eric Wordekemper will get the start Wednesday to take his place, but he’s not likely to be the long-term solution.

Chase Wright is very, very mysteriously scratched from his start here tonight — no word whatsoever on why, but he’s still here.

I’ll be appearing on 1240 AM WGBB’s NY Baseball Digest Show tonight to talk about all the trade deadline crazyness and various other Thunder-related topics.

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.

In-Game Updates (LIVE from the ballpark): Michael Gardner with a 1-2-3 inning to start things out.  Seems very, very likely that you’ll see Coke back him up tonight.

Joe Muich responds to the chants of “Joe” from the raucous crowd here tonight and drives home Edwar Gonzalez to make it 1-0, Thunder in the bottom of the 2nd.

Jason Bowers just jacks a two-run shot off of Gardner to make it 2-1, Altoona in the top of the 3rd.  Didn’t get over the left-center field wall by much, but it did…and that’s all that matters.

Gardner coming out for a fourth inning.  I wonder if he does this if there isn’t another bullpen start scheduled for Wednesday…

Whelan in for Gardy after three and a third with runners on the corners.  James Boone grounded into what looked like a 4-6-3 DP to get Whelan out of it, but Corona bobbled the ball and only got the out at second.  3-1, Curve.

Phil Coke now pitching in the sixth.  The conversion begins…

Coke out after two pretty dominant frames, Oneli Perez in.

Wooooooooow, is this a boring game.  Still 3-1, B9.

In-Game Photo Gallery:

Christian Castorri

Colin Curtis

Michael Gardner

Gardy

Ramiro Pena

In-Game YouTube Videos: Michael Gardner VIDEO, Michael Gardner VIDEO 2

Final Score: 3-1, Thunder.

Post-Game Notes:

Thunder Thoughts: Gardner was pitching in the 90-92 MPH range…

A foul ball actually bounced in here from the stands.  This is a dangerous job, people…

Via the Thunder — To all the fans who came out to the game on Sunday, July 27… thanks for braving the elements with us. Starting at 10AM on Monday you can redeem your ticket stub from Sunday’s game for a ticket to another 2008 Thunder home game subject to availability. Ticket stubs must be presented in person at the Thunder Ticket Office. This offer excludes Major League Rehab appearances.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Coke Follow-Up, Part One

July 28, 2008

Or lack thereof, really.  Over at the site whose name I won’t mention that reported that Phil Coke failed a physical, the promised update about that apparent news didn’t materialize in the place it was supposed to.

I alluded to this in the first post about this, but it all makes no sense.  The Yankees aren’t going to throw a guy out there every fifth day who is supposedly hurt, and the labrum issues are believed to be a reference to George Kontos’ issue from last year.

The timeline doesn’t work, either.  If Phil Coke got removed from the game around 7:15 PM or so, was still at the ballpark after the game at 11 PM, and got a call from Tony Franklin and Mark Newman at roughly 9 AM telling him he wasn’t traded after all, where is there time for him to take a physical?  Where is there time for the results to be processed telling him he failed?

If you’re going to write something suggesting that a player is injured — especially a prospect — you’d better make sure you’ve got your stuff straight.  I’m not saying anyone’s wrong just yet, but if Coke is being moved to the bullpen and will be throwing more frequently, it sure makes it hard to believe the guy is pitching hurt.

Could it be possible that there could be some conspiracy theories being thrown around as to why the trade was changed?  Most people seem to think that Karstens and McCutchen being included over Coke and Kontos sweetened the pot.  So people need a reason why the deal was different than being originally reported…

I don’t know where the suggestions that one of the pitchers is injured is coming from, but you would hope it isn’t coming from Pittsburgh.

I’m hoping to be able to find out more about this today…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

I Bet You Want One…

July 27, 2008

…And the only way you can get one of these lovely Ian Kennedy/Joba Chamberlain dual bobbleheads is to be one of the first 2,000 fans (ages 6+) to show up at Waterfront Park on July 30th when the Thunder host the Altoona Curve.

You can purchase tickets online by checking out this link, and why wouldn’t you want to, it’s a pretty good deal.  Two bobbleheads on the same base — including one of the most collectable players in the game — and at least nine innings of baseball to boot.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Report: Coke Failed Physical

July 27, 2008

This published report indicates that Thunder starter Phil Coke failed his physical, which follows up on previous reports in the Pittsburgh area that either Coke or Kontos had labrum issues that led to them being removed from the deal.

With as careful as the Yankees are with injuries — merely asking a trainer about one will earn you death stares — I find it hard to believe that they would be throwing an injured pitcher out there every fifth day.

I’ll ask again tomorrow, but keep in mind that Tony Franklin didn’t know anything about this the other day, and Coke had no idea as to the reason as to why he was removed from the deal.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Coke To The Bullpen? Maybe…

July 27, 2008

The Yankees don’t like their young pitchers to throw more than 50 innings over their total from the previous season.

In 2007, Phil Coke threw 99 innings.  So far this season, he’s already at 118 and a third.

So Tony Franklin, is one of your best starters heading to the bullpen for the last two months of the season?

“Don’t know yet, it’s something we’re going to have to figure out,” he said.

“We’ll have to look at it and see what’s going to happen.  I can’t say for sure that he’s going into the bullpen, but we have to visit that when his spot comes up.”

Coke, who told me earlier in the season that he just wants the ball regardless of whether it’s as a starter or in relief, wasn’t sure what the plan for him was going to entail.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 106: Portland @ Trenton

July 27, 2008

Game 106 – Portland Sea Dogs @ Trenton Thunder
July 27, 2008
Waterfront Park – Trenton, NJ

Pitching Matchup: TRE Jason Jones (10-4, 2.67) vs. POR Kris Johnson (7-5, 3.71)

Starting Lineups:

Portland

1 –
2 –
3 –
4 –
5 –
6 –
7 –
8 –
9 –

Trenton

1 – Corona
2 – Pena
3 – Jackson
4 – Malec
5 – Curtis
6 – Ibarra
7 – Ehlers
8 – Rodriguez
9 – Cooper

Pre-Game Notes: I will not be at the ballpark today, but will return for the next three games starting Monday.

Why is Ibarra hitting sixth of all a sudden?

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:

Post-Game Notes:

Thunder Thoughts:

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 105: Portland @ Trenton

July 26, 2008

Game 105 – Portland Sea Dogs @ Trenton Thunder
July 26, 2008
Waterfront Park – Trenton, NJ

Pitching Matchup: TRE George Kontos (3-9, 3.77) vs. POR Dave Gassner (2-5, 6.89)

Starting Lineups:

Portland

1 – Pritz
2 – Jimenez
3 – Wagner
4 – Daeges
5 – Bates
6 – Anderson
7 – Reddick
8 – Diaz
9 – Suarez

Trenton

1 – Corona
2 – Pena
3 – Jackson
4 – Malec
5 – Curtis
6 – Ibarra
7 – Ehlers
8 – Muich
9 – Cooper

Pre-Game Notes: A worthless bit of info on any other day, but with everyone on high alert mode…worth noting that Jason Jones is bringing the bag of balls back and forth during BP today. Usually, that’s the job of the previous day’s starter. I assume Coke is here, and I know Kontos is still set to pitch.

I asked Tony Franklin about the report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that both Coke and Kontos were removed from the trade because one had a labrum issue, and he said he had no idea about any of that.  Coke was also not given a reason as to why he was removed from the trade.

If I’m guessing, they’re referring to George’s shoulder injury last year, where he missed two months.

Word on the street is that Coke will be getting his innings cut down, but it’s not known yet whether he’ll be heading to the bullpen.

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.

In-Game Updates (LIVE from the ballpark): George Kontos is here!  And he’s pitching!  0-0 in the bottom of the first.

Reegie Corona provided a very, very scary moment here in the bottom of the 1st.  He broke his bat on a grounder to the pitcher, and the majority of the bat went flying into the stands.  It deflected off a row of miraculously empty seats (on a fireworks night, no less) and went into the concourse separating the lower and upper level of seats.  Thankfully, nobody was injured, but the bat went into the stands at a very high rate of speed.

Kontos with quite a rough 2nd inning.  Four runs on four hits, but the big blow came on a three-run triple by Josh Reddick.

Well, as colleague Josh Brett pointed out, George Kontos can’t complain about run support tonight.  Not that he does, but the point is, is that he flat out doesn’t have it tonight.  He just gave up a home run to Aaron Bates in the 3rd to make it 6-1.  The Thunder, if you’re curious, scored on an RBI groundout from Cody Ehlers.  Ehlers seemed pretty frustrated in batting practice today…don’t know if the confidence has taken a hit.

Mark Wagner gets on my crap list for fouling one back in my general direction.  Missed coming in here by about an inch or two.  In relevant news, it’s still 6-1 Portland in the 5th.

James Cooper drives one in here in the bottom of the 5th, it’s now 6-2.  Will Portland snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?  Perhaps…Reegie Corona drives in another to make it 6-3.

Kontos out after six.  Six runs, five hits, four walks, blah.  Not the solid outing many people were hoping for.  Sticking with the six theme, Oneli Perez is in…

Michael Gardner in for Perez after two solid innings of relief out of the six-fingered specialist.

Aaaaaaaaand it’s over.  Trenton’s lost four out of their last five.  Should be just a joyous clubhouse tonight.

In-Game Photo Gallery:

Phil Coke, who was in charge of carrying the backpack of sunflower seeds and gum to the bullpen.

George Kontos — not traded after all

Chris Malec

Oneli Perez

In-Game YouTube Videos: George Kontos VIDEO, George Kontos VIDEO 2, George Kontos VIDEO 3

Final Score: 6-3, Sea Dogs.

Post-Game Notes: Check out Baseball Digest Daily Live for an interview with one Austin Jackson.

Thunder Thoughts: Ah, yes.  The press box can have many fun moments.  For example, there was this exchange with myself and another reporter upon entering yesterday…

Me: Anyone wanna play guess that odor?

Colleague: It smells like feet.

But today, the Thunder have redeemed themselves by providing the press with a wide array of lovely desserts.  Raspberry cheesecake, apple pie.  Well played, Thunder.  Well played indeed. 

I made the WordPress Top Blogs list, ranking 96th out of their 3,657,882 blogs.  Thanks to the record amount of users we got today, nearly 4,300 people.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Damaged Goods?

July 26, 2008

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that the reason that Phil Coke and George Kontos weren’t in the final deal was because one pitcher, who the paper’s source would not name, has labrum damage.

I’ll find out what I can, but I bet it’s not a lot…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com