— The most important news first. As of now, hitting coach Julius Matos (pictured) has been temporarily relieved of his duties. James Rowson is filling in on a short term basis. Rowson has served as the Yankees roving minor league hitting instructor and will likely return to that role when/if a replacement is found or Matos returns. I wouldn’t count on the latter.
John Nalbone and Josh Norris both get credit for breaking this one first.
Matos was ejected Tuesday and made quite a spectacle of it — Norris goes into far better detail about the ejection than I could given I was dealing with a minor health issue and missed the last two games — and that apparently ultimately led to a heated confrontation between he and manager Tony Franklin that, depending on who you talk to, was nearly physical.
Franklin, as he should, had little to say about the incident after the game…word only started to spread that Matos was not with the team when Rowson was announced over the PA as the hitting coach prior to the game.
“Julius has a couple issues to be taken care of, and for that reason he’s back in Tampa,” Franklin said.
“If there’s anything further that you would like to know about it, you need to address those questions to the front office in Tampa, and they can probably give you a little bit more than what I’m going to give you.”
Franklin would not confirm any form of confrontation with Matos and was not sure if Matos would be back in Trenton. Franklin did say he did believe Matos was still employed by the Yankees, and when I asked him directly if he would be OK with a return by the former major leaguer, Franklin said: “Yeah, I would be. Sure.”
Having seen and shot this video of a Matos ejection in 2008 personally, that he’d be a little bit of a hothead isn’t shocking…
…But there’s a time and a place for everything, and given his role on the team, there seemed to be some question as to a possible undermining of Franklin’s authority via his actions.
— The game. It was not good. Also not good was Kei Igawa, who…ahem, scattered nine hits over five innings of work. He gave up four runs, three of them on solo homers (he’d given up three home runs all season in 37 IP previously), and needed 92 pitches to get through his shoddy outing. As is the norm, he, Naoya Okamoto and interpreter Subaru Takeshita were all dressed and out the door before the media was allowed in…Igawa did an interview at the end of the hallway with a Japanese-language reporter and that was that. So he didn’t stick around…seems the 46 million dollar man may have problems sticking around in the rotation for his next start as well.
“He wasn’t sharp,” Franklin said.
“But when we left the ballgame, we were still in the game and we had a chance to win. Kei’s done that on occasion, he hasn’t pitched extremely well, but he’s well enough to keep us in the game. I think that’s all you can ask for from a guy.”
Igawa’s fastball was seen topping out at 87 MPH. According to the 2007 Baseball America Prospect Handbook, he can reach back and hit 93. Hmmm.
— Nice game by Brad Suttle. 2-for-2 with two walks. So, you know, there’s that.
— Somewhere, Brian Sabean was freaking out when Altoona’s Travis Scott bowled over Thunder catcher Austin Romine to score Altoona’s fifth and final run in the eighth inning. Scott made some pretty solid contact with Romine, who never had possession of the ball, and seemed to stun the top catching prospect. But he remained in the game.
— Jose Gil at first base…that’s an experiment that might need to come to an end. He let a few balls go through that someone with more experience might have, at the very least, been able to knock down.
— Josh Schmidt struck out two in a scoreless ninth to lower his ERA to 1.42. Hmph. Almost like this guy should be in Scranton.
— The Thunder are having a dog walk event for charity. You can find more info at trentonthunder.com…but here’s some highlights from the team newsletter.
You and your dog are probably sick of the same old walk around the block, day in, day out. Shake things up on Saturday, June 11 at the Paws For A Cause Dog Walk at Mercer County Waterfront Park!
Paws For A Cause is an event that dogs and dog owners can feel great about supporting – all the proceeds will go straight to the Shelter Animal Project, Res-Q-Pets and Trenton Thunder Charities.
Walk your dog around the baseball field and along the picturesque South River Walk Park
Browse Local Vendors
50/50 Raffle & Tricky Tray
Pet Costume Contests – prizes will be for best Yankee fan, best Philly fan and best overall costume
All registered participants will receive a t-shirt, goody bag, and a complimentary ticket to the Trenton Thunder game on Chase’s Birthday (July 1st, you can bring your dog to that too!)
Registration is a minimum donation of just $25
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com