— Phew. It was nice having Derek Jeter here, but I don’t think anyone will mind that he’s gone…that was a LOT of hard work over the past two days. It is, however, as the headline suggests, back to reality for the Thunder.
— Several photos from team photographer David Schofield featuring Trenton manager Tony Franklin and Jeter standing together sat on Franklin’s desk. Franklin asked Jeter to sign the photos, and the future Hall of Famer willingly obliged the beloved 61-year-old skipper. Just another memory for the California native, who enjoyed having Jeter here but won’t mind seeing him move on either.
“Very (much so), on both counts,” Franklin said.
“He needs to be back in New York, and this is a place to find out whether or not he was able to play and healthy enough to get back there. From what I see, I think he’s pretty stable and ready to play. But having him here waas really, really a pleasure. He’s quite the guy and quite the player.”
Franklin hopes that his team will enjoy both short and long-term benefits from having had the opportunity to work with the All-Star shortstop for the past three days.
“I hope that all the guys will try to emulate how he went about his business,” Franklin said.
“I’m in the dugout and I’m telling these guys, ‘Don’t let Derek beat you to the field.’ He grabs his glove and he’s going out to play defense. He’s really very business-like about what he does out there, and his focus is very, very good. That shows up on the field. I hope they took every bit of what he brought here with them.”
— It seems like you can just recycle my comments from the past few Manny Banuelos starts I’ve seen and throw them in here, right? The line was decent, the amount of pitches he needed to get there wasn’t. In 4 2/3 innings, he allowed seven hits (including four consecutive singles in the first) and gave up four runs (one earned) while walking two and striking out eight. But he needed 98 pitches (68 strikes) to get just 14 outs. That doesn’t cut it at any level, but Franklin hasn’t run out of ways to say his starting pitching phenom needs to be more efficient.
“One thing I don’t want you guys to forget is this kid is very young in his career,” Franklin said.
“It takes some time for young guys, whether it be pitchers or players, to find their niche in their game, as talented as they are. We can’t expect them to always go out there and pitch like the Orel Hershiser’s and the David Cone’s and the Pettitte’s and the way they pitched. These guys are just beginning and hopefully they’ll be able to pitch like that one day. You have to learn to be patient with them and learn that they’re going to be up and down from time to time.”
Banuelos said he felt good with his command tonight, and attributed the high pitch count to Curve batters fouling off a lot of his pitches.
“I’m still working with (my command), and I feel better than before. I threw more strikes than before,” Banuelos said.
“I don’t want to be out in four or four and two thirds, I try to get more than five and go into the sixth. I got a lot of foul balls tonight, and that hurt my pitch count.”
— Shaeffer Hall was summoned into Franklin’s office immediately after the game. Big trouble loomed. Pitching coach Tommy Phelps was “angry” that Hall had missed a few pitches on the chart while getting out of the rain. And by angry, I mean he was playing a prank on Hall and he was actually being called up to Triple-A Scranton to start tomorrow. “Double-A” Kei Igawa will be returned to Trenton in time for their road trip.
“I’m pretty excited right now,” said Hall, who posted a 6-4 record and 3.97 ERA in 16 appearances for Trenton this season.
“I didn’t really see this coming, but I guess my hard work has paid off.”
Hall’s last two outings came out of the bullpen in relief of Phil Hughes, but he will be starting for Scranton for the foreseeable future. He wasn’t surprised that the call-up came after the two relief outings.
“I’ve started a bunch of games this season, and I have 90 innings under my belt,” he said.
“I’m not really surprised by it, but it usually happens when it’s least expected. I’m really excited about it.”
Hall, who credited his ability to throw strikes and “maybe” his strikeout to walk ratio (60/19) for earning his first call-up to Triple-A, isn’t surprised either at how quickly he’s been able to move through the system.
“I have pretty expectations for myself, and I have a tremendous amount of confidence,” Hall said.
“I bring that out on the mound every time I go out there and I tell myself that I’m going to be better than my opponent. Some nights, it’s not there, but you’ve got to be consistent. I’ve just got the confidence and I trust in my abilities.”
Hall was among those blown away by the “Jeter experience.”
“That was something special. That was something I’ve never experienced in my life and something I’ll never forget,” Hall said.
“Being able to be in the same clubhouse as Jeter. It’s so surreal that I was able to get to experience that.”
— Just a regular Sunday off for Austin Romine. Nothing to see here, folks.
— DeAngelo Mack was sick with “flu-like symptoms” and that’s why he missed the past two days.
— Well, I didn’t think they could do it just based on how the layout of the stadium had changed since 2007, but the Thunder set a new franchise single-game attendance record with 9,212 fans tonight. That tops the 9,134 that Roger Clemens’ “tune-up” appearance drew four seasons ago. Combine that with the fact that they “only” drew 9,002 last night when it had been advertised that that was the game that was sold out and Sunday still had standing room only tickets, and this was a little unexpected.
But everyone associated it with this deserves it. I can’t say enough about how well handled this was from the top all the way down to the interns. Classy job by a classy organization. The Top 12 crowds in Thunder history are as follows…
2) 9,134 – 5/23/07 Roger Clemens Rehab assignment
3) 9,002 – 7/2/11 Derek Jeter Rehab assignment
4) 8,729 – 5/10/03 Derek Jeter Rehab assignment
5) 8,602 – 5/27/98 Exhibition vs. Boston Red Sox
6) 8,461 – 5/9/03 Derek Jeter Rehab assignment
7) 8,380 – 5/7/03 Derek Jeter Rehab assignment
8.) 8,369 – 6/8/96 Exhibition – Double A All-Star Game
9) 8,242 – 7/4/03 Bernie Williams Rehab assignment
10) 8,128 – 8/5/06 Robinson Cano Rehab assignment
12) 7,994 – 8/13/09 vs. Reading Phillies
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com