12:10 PM — Addison Maruszak is playing his 108th game in the field as a member of the Trenton Thunder, but this is his first as a shortstop. But before he became a super-utility man, he came up as a shortstop, so this isn’t a real big deal for him…
“It’s just another game,” he said. “I played there a little last year (in Scranton) and I was fine. I’ve been practicing, even though I haven’t played there for a while. I’ve played it for such a long time that it’s kind of like riding a bike.”
Maruszak says that shortstop is actually more comfortable for him than other spots since that’s where he started in the organization.
“You’ve got a little more footwork involved there,” he said.
“You can cheat a little more there, you can see pitches are coming. You can see the swing path a little better. It’s a position that, even though you’re not fast, you can play it pretty well because you’ve got to play it smart. I feel I do that pretty well.”
Jose Pirela at second is also an interesting choice — although he has played there for Trenton before — and Tony Franklin says that’s one of many places you’ll see him at this year.
“You’re going to see Petey in the outfield, you’re going to see him at third base, you’re going to see him at second, you’re going to see him at short,” Franklin said. “We in the organization feel like he’s got some value as a utility guy. He’s a pretty good athlete. He’s handled himself at various positions during the spring fairly well.”
Something else I asked about was if it’s realistic for Cody Johnson — who stressed how much he wants to play in the field at Media Day — to do just that. Doesn’t sound real good.
“It is, but you look at the numbers,” Franklin said. “(It would be) at the expense of taking both Almonte’s out and Mesa out and Brewer out.”
So, something I brought up that I’ve thought for a while is if Cody could play first base. At 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, he’s a big boy to be playing in the outfield, but he might profile well at first, a position he’s never played before professionally.
“I’ve never seen him in the infield, we’ve not done that,” Franklin said. “If you’re going to be a defensive player, you’ve got to play somewhere. Here’s the deal, besides the pitcher and the catcher, the first baseman probably handles the ball the third most on the team. That’s a very skilled position, and it takes a lot. I don’t think he’s worked out there. It would just be plain wrong on my part to put him there. I’m not saying he couldn’t be a heck of a first baseman, I just don’t know because I’ve never seen him take grounders.”
12:00 PM — Lineups…
Thunder lineup: Pirela 2B, Mustelier 3B, Brewer LF, Z. Almonte RF, Lyerly 1B, Mesa CF, Johnson DH, Gil C, Maruszak SS, Marshall P
Fisher Cats lineup: Howard 3B, Diaz SS, Van Kirk LF, Glenn RF, McDade DH, Clemens 1B, Goins 2B, Jeroloman C, McElroy CF, McGuire P
10:15 AM — Not much to tell you just yet. No lineups, no access until 11:15 and not much sleep for your beloved beat writer.
I can, however, tell you about today’s opposing starter. While he sounds more like “foil for Brick Tamland” than “baseball player,” Deck McGuire is, in fact, the latter. And he doesn’t suck. He’s a 22-year-old righty who was taken 11th overall in the 2010 draft by Toronto. Baseball America ranks him as Toronto’s eighth-best prospect, and gives a scouting report that has his fastball touching 94 MPH complete with a slider, changeup and curveball.
And surely, you read my feature on today’s Thunder hurler, Brett Marshall.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com