Actually, there’s a lot to write about. It’s nice to actually get home early, because I can give you more stuff from the pre-game chats and do a little bit better with the post-game notes as well…even if, ummm…there was no game.
** The stats do count, as this was a suspended and not postponed game. The teams were tied 0-0, in the top of the 4th. Hector Noesi was working a 2-1 count with nobody on base.
** Noesi was good, but everyone who wanted some form a scouting report on him, tonight’s not your night. He was only able to go 3+ innings due to the rain. I did see his fastball at 93 MPH twice, and his control was pretty good for the most part…but I’d love to have the opportunity to see him again.
A native of the Dominican Republic, Noesi’s stuff is developing, as well as his English. When I approached him by his locker after the game, he told me to take it very slowly with him…and it’s clear he’s not 100% comfortable with the language just yet.
“I feel great today,” Noesi said.
“You always got to focus to do what you’ve got to do. Right now, I’ve got to work with my slider. (The rain) that’s going to happen sometimes.”
Despite the rain, Thunder manager Tony Franklin was impressed by Noesi’s brief outing.
“He was pretty good,” he said.
“The thing that I think he does very well is command his fastball on both sides of the strike zone. He did that for the three innings he was out there.”
Evidence of that command was several of those strikeouts being of the looking variety…
“If you go in, go in, go in, up and in, up and in, up and in, then away…boom, it’s kind of difficult to get on that pitch. So yeah, he might get a lot of called third strikes out there.”
Noesi recalled the moment when he found out he was coming to Trenton…
“It made me nervous,” he said.
“Like wow, it’s quick. One month with Tampa Yankees, and I was ready to be in Double-A. But I never get nervous. My first time in Portland, I was like a little, little nervous. Not too nervous.”
** Daniel Brewer seems to be OK, but that was a scary moment for a little while. Brewer feared he snapped his wrist on his inning-ending diving catch in the second.
“To be honest, I thought it snapped,” Brewer told me.
“I thought something was wrong with it because it was kind of locked in a position. Then, my glove fell off and I was able to squeeze it and had good strength there. But right off the bat, the way I came in, I thought something happened.”
Brewer described the play…
“When I dove, my wrist and my glove kind of got caught in the grass underneath me,” Brewer said.
“I just kept rolling and rolled on top of it and just jammed it. Nothing too severe or anything, I’ll be fine. Probably a little sore tomorrow. Right after it happened, I went under (into the cage) and took a couple swings. It was a little stressful on the follow-through, but nothing bad.”
** Neall French stopped by before the game and said his goodbyes to his teammates and coaches. He apparently has some batting cages he runs back in Cleveland, so he’ll be occupied in his early retirement.
“Here’s a guy who wasn’t playing and was on the disabled list and catching in the bullpen for us. He didn’t see an opportunity for himself to play,” Franklin said.
“He discussed it with the administration in Tampa, got some answers and he’s decided to call it a career. So he’s no longer on our roster. We’re going to miss him, he was a very nice guy. He did everything the Yankees asked him to do. The third catcher helps us out tremendously and we’re not going to have that anymore. I wish him well.”
Franklin talked about the decision French made…
“It’s a very difficult decision to take the uniform off and say it’s over,” he said.
“I had to do it. I was forced to do it, to be honest with you. When you get to that fork in the road, it’s a very difficult decision.”
** Jose Gil hitting 5th in the lineup was an interesting choice…usually he hits a little lower. So I asked Franklin about it before the game.
“I just try to place guys in the lineup where they’re probably going to be of the most benefit to us,” he said.
“A lot of times I’ll look at it as no speed, some speed, speed, possible hit and run guy here. All of those things are kind of factors. But I think Jose’s a pretty good hitter, even though he hasn’t played a lot. He’s got some offensive ability, and I’m just trying to get as much offense in the lineup as I possibly can. If we have to do a hit and run, I think he can probably do it.”
Franklin pointed to Justin Christian not playing today and Brewer usually being in that spot as reasons — saying Brewer is the one guy he can use in the lineup from anywhere from 1 to 9.
** Brandon Laird was still getting a lot of ink, chatting it up with Tyler Kepner of The New York Times and Ken Mandel from the Bucks County Courier Times before the game.
“Some people were kind of born with a bat in their hands,” Franklin said.
“When you see a kid like this who’s able to cover the outside part of the plate and he doesn’t have any fear of doing it…he handles good pitches out there. He can hit in very clutch situations, game on the line type situations. You’ve got to be impressed with this kid. He came advertised as an offensive threat, and he’s shown the ability to hit very well.”
“He’s not a bad defender either,” Franklin said.
“He’s got a great arm, he’s got sure hands. He’s got a bright future ahead of him.”
** Franklin hoped to be able to play new utility man Kevin Mahoney at some point in the near future.
“I’ve always said that everybody on this team is important,” he said.
“Right now, Kevin’s role is utility player. But I talked to him today, and I know he’s hurting and I know he wants to play. I didn’t know until a day or two ago that he’s from this area here…we’re going up to New Hampshire and I think he has some family coming to the game. I’m certainly going to try and play him when his family’s there, that would be a thrill for them and for him. I’m not playing him because his family’s coming, I’m playing him because I think he’s going to help us win. Kevin played for us during the spring, and he did some pretty good things.”
** David Adams told me after the game he’s “day to day.” In speaking to Franklin before the game though, it seems the wait will be much longer than just a few days…
“He’s a ways away, a long ways,” he said.
“Don’t expect to see him back any time soon for a couple reasons. One, we’re going to be very cautious with him. I think that’s the right thing to do, not to rush him back. The other thing, this is the first he’s sprained the ankle and it’s going to take some time. I’d much rather him miss two weeks, three weeks than have him miss two months.”
Franklin later said that 2-3 weeks isn’t the exact timetable, and they’re going to play it by how Adams feels.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com