Archive for July 10th, 2009

Bleich Falls To 0-3 In Thunder Loss

July 10, 2009

bleichinct

Jeremy Bleich (Courtesy of Greg’s Connecticut Defenders Blog)

(PR) (Norwich, CT)- Connecticut scored three runs in the third inning and went on for a 4-2 win over Trenton on Friday night from Dodd Stadium in Norwich, CT. Connecticut extended its Northern Division lead to 9 1/2 games over the Thunder with the win.

Down 2-0, Connecticut struck for three runs in the third inning. With one out in the frame, Catcher Jackson Williams walked. After a walk to Second Baseman Brock Bond, Center fielder Mike McBryde delievered an RBI single to plate Williams and move Bond to third base. Bond scored the tying run on an RBI groundout by First baseman Brett Pill. McBryde scored the go-ahead run with two outs on a wild pitch by Trenton Starting Pitcher Jeremy Bleich (0-3). The Defenders added a run in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly RBI by Pill to increase the lead to 4-2. Bond went 3 x 3 in the game with a double, and two runs scored.

Trenton took a 2-0 lead in the second inning off of Connecticut Starting Pitcher Daryl Maday. Catcher Jesus Montero walked to start the inning, and moved to third base on a one-out double by Right fielder Edwar Gonzalez. Designated Hitter Noah Hall followed with a two-run single to give the Thunder a 2-0 lead. Hall had two hits in the loss, and now is 8 x 11 in three games since being activated from the Disabled List. First Baseman Jorge Vazquez and Third baseman Chris Malec each had two hits in the loss.

Bleich allowed five hits and four runs in 6 2/3 innings to take this third straight loss. He struck out six and walked four. Maday (4-3) scattered seven hits and two runs in six innings to pick up his second win of the season against the Thunder. Tonight was his third start of the season against the Thunder. Maday won for just the second time in his last nine starts. Connecticut Reliever Waldis Joaquin tossed two shutout innings to pick up his first save of the season. He struck out the side in the ninth inning.

Trenton continues its four-game series against the Connecticut Defenders (Double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants) on Saturday night with the second game of the four-game series. RHP Zach McAllister (5-4, 1.87) will start for Trenton against Connecticut RHP Tim Alderson (5-1, 2.59). Game time is set for 6:35 p.m.

Vazquez and Ummm…Menechino Among HR Derby Participants

July 10, 2009

(PR) (Trenton, NJ)- The Trenton Thunder, Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, announced the participants and other details for the Yankees-Steiner Collectibles Home Run Derby that will take place prior to the Eastern League All-Star Game on July 15th in Trenton, NJ.

The Home Run Derby will begin at approximately 4:45 PM and will feature Past, Present and Future sluggers. Participants will include Eastern League All-Stars, local High School All-Stars and a former Major Leaguer.

HR DERBY PARTICIPANTS

Brian Dopirak: Brian Dopirak leads the Eastern League in home runs with 19. The Crystal Beach, Florida native has appeared in 85 games for the Fisher Cats in 2009 and has a .313 batting average with 68 RBI which also leads the Eastern League. The first baseman was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the second round of the 2002 June draft. He was released by Chicago after the 2007 season and signed a free agent contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Jorge Vazquez: Jorge Vazquez is ranked 8th in the Eastern League with 12 home runs. The Culiacan, Mexico native has appeared in 52 games for the Trenton Thunder this season and has batted .332 with a team leading 51 RBI and a team high .584 slugging percentage. Vazquez also appeared in five games for Mexico in the 2009 World Baseball Classic and batted .294 with one home run and five RBI. Prior to the 2009 season, the first baseman spent 10 seasons in the Mexican League and sported a .321 career batting average in 627 games with 151 home runs and 491 RBI.

Rene Tosoni: Rene Tosoni is tied for 11th in the Eastern League with 10 home runs. The Toronto, Ontario native has appeared in 81 games for the New Britain Rock Cats and leads the team in home runs, games played, walks (36), runs scored (45), slugging percentage (.483), and RBI (49). Tosoni was drafted by the Twins in the 36th round of the 2005 June draft. The outfielder will also appear in the XM All Star Futures Game on July 13th at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

Michael Taylor: Michael Taylor is ranked 4th in the Eastern League with 15 home runs. The Apopka, Florida native is the No. 6 ranked prospect and “Best Power Hitter” in the Phillies Minor League System according to Baseball America. The outfielder has appeared in 82 games for Reading this season and he leads the team in batting average (.336), home runs, RBI (64) and hits (102). Taylor was selected by the Phillies in the 5th round of the 2007 draft out of Stanford University.

Brennan Boesch: Brennan Boesch is ranked 2nd in the Eastern League with 17 home runs. The Santa Monica, California native has appeared in 81 games for the Erie Sea Wolves this season and leads the team in home runs, RBI (56) and hits (83). The outfielder was selected by the Tigers in the 3rd Round of the 2006 June draft out of the University of California at Berkeley.

Nick Weglarz: Nick Weglarz is tied for 6th in the Eastern League with 13 home runs. The Stevensville, Ohio native has appeared in 82 games for the Akron Aeros this season and leads the team in RBI (58). The outfielder is the No. 3 ranked prospect in the Indians Minor League System according to Baseball America. He was selected by the Indians in the 3rd round of the 2005 June draft.

Frank Menechino: Frank Menechino is the Trenton Thunder hitting coach. He played in the majors from 1999-2005 for the Oakland Athletics and Toronto Blue Jays. He played second base, shortstop, third base and designated hitter. In his 7 year Major League career he hit a total of 36 HR and drove in 149 runs. Menechino played in the 1996 Double A All-Star game at Waterfront Park.

Mark Zagunis: Mark Zagunis just completed his sophomore season at Holy Cross High School in Delran, NJ. In 24 games this season, Mark batted .524 with 33 hits, 7 doubles, 2 triples, and 7 home runs (3rd in Burlington County Scholastic League). Zagunis homered at Waterfront Park on Sunday, May 17 in the Burlington County Scholastic League Championship against Delran High School.

Mike Fassl: Mike Fassl is a rising senior at New Egypt High School in New Eygpt, NJ. The catcher played in all 24 of his team’s games during his freshman and sophomore years before being limited to just 9 games last season with an ACL injury. In his 57 game high school career, he has 5 HR, 49 RBI and a .344 batting average. He has participated in the Trenton Thunder Showcase and Blue Grey Classic at Waterfront Park.

HR DERBY RULES

* The HR Derby will begin at approximately 4:45 PM.

* The order that participants will hit will be determined by Trenton Thunder Management.

* Participants may choose someone to pitch to them during the derby. If they do not have a selection, a member of the Trenton Thunder coaching staff will pitch to them.

* The two High School participants are the only ones allowed to use metal bats.

* The HR Derby will consist of two rounds.

* During the first round, each player will swing until they record 10 outs. An out is any swing that is not a home run. Questionable Home Run calls will be made by Trenton Thunder personnel on the field.

* The two players with the highest number of home runs in the first round will advance to the Championship Round. The Championship Round will be for a total of 10 outs.

* In the event that both players are tied after the Championship around, rounds of 5 outs each will continue until a winner is declared.

* The winner of the HR Derby will be presented with an authentic autographed Hank Aaron Bat and a $350 gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Dunn Among Two Added To All-Star Game

July 10, 2009

(PR) The Trenton Thunder, Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, and the Eastern League, have announced two changes to the rosters for the 2009 Eastern League All-Star Game to be played in Trenton on July 15th. For the Northern Division squad, New Hampshire RHP Reidier Gonzalez is injured and will not be playing in the game but will attend the game and festivities. He is being replaced by Trenton LHP Michael Dunn on the roster. For the Southern Division squad, Akron RHP Vinnie Pestano is injured and will not be playing in the game but will attend the game and festivities. Akron RHP Carlton Smith will replace him on the All-Star Roster.

Where Are They Now?

July 10, 2009

The Trenton Thunder have used 45 different players so far this season…

About 85 games into the season, now is as good of a time as any to take a look at what’s happened to some of the guys no longer on the roster.

cervelliFrancisco Cervelli

Cervelli (left) was called up to the New York Yankees on May 5th after having spent about a month in Trenton.  He appeared in 25 games in pinstripes, hitting .269 with a home run and nine RBI.  He just got sent down to Triple-A Scranton after Jose Molina was activated from a rehab assignment.

Colin Curtis

In his third year in Trenton, Curtis finally earned his first call-up to Triple-A on June 21st.  He’s hitting just .196 in his first 16 games, with two home runs and nine RBI. 

Seth Fortenberry

After starting the season with the Thunder — and after having been transferred off the roster several times — Fortenberry was finally sent down to Single-A Tampa on June 10th.  In 19 games, he’s hitting just .206 with three home runs and 10 RBI.

Jose Gil

Gil began the season as a third catcher on the Thunder roster who rarely saw the field.  Gil was sent to Tampa on June 3rd when Jesus Montero was promoted.  Since then, he’s appeared in eight games, including the second half of three doubleheaders.  The Venezuelan-born backstop is hitting .231 with no home runs or RBI. 

11Carlos Mendoza

Mendoza (left) was in his third year as a seldom-used utility infielder with the Thunder, but still earned two rings in 2007 and 2008.  Relied upon in the clubhouse for his work with the Latin players, Mendoza has retired and is now serving as a coach with the Yankees short-season affiliate in Staten Island.

Jose Molina

Molina joined the Thunder for a Major League rehab assignment, going 0-for-7 with four strikeouts and two walks.  He’s since been added back to the Yankees roster, where he’s yet to appear in a game. 

Jack Rye

Rye spent a very brief amount of time with the Thunder, being summoned from Tampa on June 29th and sent back on July 3rd.  He’s played in two games in Tampa since being returned — one in left field and one in center — going 1-for-5 with a walk. 

Kevin Smith

Smith became the odd man out of the Thunder lineup after having started the season in Mercer County.  Despite having shown improvement after a slow start, he was sent down to Tampa on June 21st.  Now playing at the High-A level, he’s hitting .308 with no home runs and three RBI in 12 games. 

Brian Bruney

Brian Bruney played for the Thunder this year?  That’s funny, I don’t remember that happening.  Hmmm.  Anyway, the Oregon-born reliever did, in fact, join the club for a one-game rehab stint before heading back to the Yankees.  Since leaving Trenton, Bruney has appeared in eight big league games.  He’s 1-0 with a 6.00 ERA with seven walks, four strikeouts and one pissed off Mets closer.

castilloNoel Castillo

Castillo (left) was called up to Double-A Trenton on April 25th, one of seven roster moves made that day.  Six appearances later, and he was sent back down in the middle of May.  Since then, he’s made 10 relief appearances, going 1-1 with a 6.61 ERA in 16.2 innings of work.  He’s walked 11 batters and struck out 14. 

J.B. Cox

Cox started the season in Triple-A Scranton, struggled there, and was sent down to Double-A Trenton.  After five sub-par games there, the former University of Texas closer was placed on the disabled list and has since returned home to think about his future in the game.  Some people have said he told teammates he didn’t want to play anymore, others have said he’s just taking some time off. 

Christian Garcia

It looked like the friendly Florida native was finally putting it all together, having allowed just two earned runs in his first five Double-A starts.  Turns out, he didn’t last to make his sixth.  Garcia recently underwent elbow surgery to remove a bone chip, a bone spur and to have scar tissue pulled away.  Out for the season, he’ll have to wait until 2010 to once again try to fulfill his potential.

hackerEric Hacker

Hacker (left), Trenton’s 2009 Opening Day starter, lasted just three starts before becoming the first starter promoted to Scranton this season.  It took his 20th and final start in a Thunder uniform to allow more than three earned runs in a start, as he’d minimized the damage quite nicely in his previous 19.  Despite that, Hacker was allowed just three more so-so starts in the organization, being designated for assignment and then traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates after struggling in Scranton.  At Triple-A Indianapolis, the soft-spoken Texan is 2-1 with a 3.88 ERA in nine starts. 

Alan Horne

Horne, who was the 2007 Eastern League Pitcher of the Year as a member of the Thunder, returned this season in what was expected to be a brief stint on the road back from injury.  Instead, he got hurt again.  Now throwing bullpens in Florida, Horne is expected to return at some point this season.

Jonathan Hovis

The former Tarheel was called up from Single-A Tampa on May 10th and returned on May 19th.  He appeared in just two games for the Thunder, and has pitched in 15 since for Tampa.  In those games, he’s recorded no record and 11 saves, allowing just three earned runs in 15 innings of work.  He’s walked just two batters and has struck out 16.

Jason Johnson

The big league veteran struggled mightily in two starts for the Thunder on his way back from a partially torn labrum, but still was called up to Scranton a week ago.  He has yet to appear in a Triple-A game since being returned to their roster.

George Kontos

Kontos returned to the Thunder after spending all of last year with the club.  He made just four starts before being summoned to Scranton, where he went 3-4 with a 3.35 ERA in nine starts.  But elbow troubles have shut down the former Northwestern standout, and he’ll miss the next 10-12 months after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

nova3Ivan Nova

Nova (left) began the season as Trenton’s fifth starter, and may have emerged as its best before ultimately being called up to Triple-A Scranton on June 27th.  5-4 with a 2.36 ERA in 12 starts for the Thunder, Nova has kept it up at the next level, picking up a win and allowing just two runs in his first 11 Triple-A innings of work.

Amauri Sanit

A Cuban defector who just celebrated his 30th birthday, Sanit emerged as the first true closer the Thunder had since the days of Justin Pope.  In 21 appearances, he was 1-2 with 10 saves and a 2.95 ERA before being sent to Scranton just two days ago.  He’s yet to appear in a game at the Triple-A level.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Big League Ace

July 10, 2009

acevesIt was around this time last year — his last appearance with the Thunder was June 22, 2008 — that Alfredo Aceves seemed to be well on his way to putting on the Yankee pinstripes.

One year later, and he’s there and performing well in a meaningful role.

Tyler Kepner, Yankees beat writer for The New York Times, takes a look at Aceves’ story and that role.  He also shares the interesting story of how Aceves got engaged in the stands at Waterfront Park.

I think the thing I’ll remember most about Alfredo’s brief stay with the Thunder was how he would go out of his way to say hello to you.  To this day, he’s very friendly in the Yankees clubhouse, and seems to take a genuine interest in who he’s talking to.

It’s always nice to see guys like that do well.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Around The EL: Tim Alderson

July 10, 2009

alderson3As the 2009 Eastern League All-Star Game — to be held at Waterfront Park on July 15th — draws closer, I thought now would be the best time to start breaking out some of these interviews I’ve been conducting with players from around the league.

The first of these chats will be with Connecticut Defenders pitcher Tim Alderson, who entered the season as the San Francisco Giants fourth best prospect, according to Baseball America.

The 20-year old spun what may have been his best Double-A start so far at Waterfront Park on June 16th, allowing no runs on two hits while striking out five in seven innings of work.

The 22nd overall pick in the 2007 draft and I chatted outside of the Defenders clubhouse for about five minutes and discussed a wide variety of topics…

Mike Ashmore: San Francisco picked you 22nd overall in the 2007 draft.  Take me back to that day, what was that like for you?

Tim Alderson: “It was pretty crazy.  I didn’t really know what was going to happen.  I had expectations, but you can’t predict anything on draft day, of course.  So I just kind of had to sit there and wait and see how the cards fell.  It happened to work out, and I was able to sign kind of early and get out there and play.”

Ashmore: Did you have any plans for college if you weren”t going to sign?

Alderson: “Yeah, I had signed with Oregon state to go play there.  But I couldn’t get away from signing with the Giants, so I decided to just go do that.”

Ashmore: Having seen you pitch yesterday, your delivery could certainly be described as unique.  How did you start that, and how would you describe it?

Alderson: “I have no idea that I actually look like that.  So it feels a lot smoother than it looks, I guess you could say.  I didn’t really have a time that I started doing it, because I don’t realize that I really do it.”

Ashmore: It just sort of came natural to you when you first started throwing?

Alderson: “Yeah.  I can’t even try to make it look smooth, I guess.  I don’t know.”

Ashmore: Has anyone tried to change that delivery since it isn’t very conventional?

Alderson: “Not really.  I mean, I can repeat it, so that’s all that matters I guess.  They’ve left it alone pretty much.”

Ashmore: And it’s easy for you to repeat since you don’t really notice it, as you’ve said…

Alderson: “Yeah, it’s not like I have to think about how to move my leg a certain way, it just happens that way.”

Ashmore: For people who haven’t had the chance to see you pitch, can you give me a little self-scouting report on what kind of pitcher you are, what pitches you throw, and so on…

Alderson: “I’m real aggressive.  I like to go right at the hitters and not waste too many pitches, let my defense work.  I’m trying to keep my pitch count down and get deeper into the game.  I’m not worried too much about strikeouts, they’ll come when they come.  Other than that, I’m just trying to get people into the game.”

Ashmore: People talk about your curveball quite a bit…is that something you consider to be your best pitch?  Is it a pitch you work on a lot?

Alderson: “Yeah, it’s definitely one of my best pitches.  It’s definitely my strikeout pitch, you can probably figure that out just by watching the game.  I just try to keep it down and not try to hang anything.  It’s been good so far.  I’m working on other pitches, and that’s going good.”

Ashmore: You’re a 20-year-old kid in Double-A, but does it feel that way to you?  Has this been as easy as you’ve been making it look?

Alderson: “It’s totally different in Double-A than it was last year or even the beginning of the season this year in High-A.  You can tell there are a lot of older guys here who are experienced and know what they’re doing out there.  You’ve got to have a better game plan and think more about each pitch before you throw it.  It’s definitely not been easy at all.  It’s been an adjustment, but it’s a fun battle.”

Ashmore: After that first start you had in Double-A, where you didn’t allow a hit and struck out ten in six and two thirds, were you thinking that they’re all going to be like that?

Alderson: “(Laughs) No.  Those type of starts only happen once in a while.  You’ve just got to enjoy it, but know that there’s stuff that you need to work on even if you have a game like that.  There’s always things you can see after pitching a game like that, you can go out there and find different things to work on.”

Ashmore: Tough to give up the ball after a start like that?

Alderson: “It’s part of the game.  It was a smart move by our manager to bring in a lefty with the lineup they had out there.”

Ashmore: You look at yourself, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum…it seems like this organization is going to be set when it comes to pitching for a long time.  How much thought do you give to being able to be a part of that at the big league level sometime soon?

Alderson: “It would definitely be fun for that to happen.  Madison and I signed at the same time and were drafted in the same class, so it would be fun to get up there together.  You can’t help but think about it.  We have a lot of fun out there each and every day, so you’ve just got to hope for the best.”

Ashmore: What is something that Bumgarner does better than you, and what’s something you do better than him?

Alderson: “I don’t really know.  We have our different styles of pitching.  He’s a real hard throwing lefty, and he’s left-handed and I’m right-handed, which is a big part of it.  He has different things that he works on, and I have different things that I work on.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com