Friday Thunder Notes

— You would think that on a day like today, there wasn’t a whole lot of information that could be gathered.  Well, think again…

There isn’t too much more of a clarification on Cody Johnson’s hamstring injury, nothing concrete anyway.  Johnson politely declined to comment in the clubhouse before the game, telling me that he wasn’t sure if he was allowed to discuss such matters.  To be very clear, it was exactly that…sometimes when a guy blows you off in the clubhouse, you drop the “Player X declined to comment” as a subtle screw you, but this isn’t it at all.  He wasn’t sure if he was going to do the right thing, so he said nothing.  I have zero problem with that.  Cody’s one of the more gregarious guys in that clubhouse, so there’s nothing bad to say about the guy.

There is, however, bad news…Johnson did have an MRI done, and while there weren’t any specifics revealed, the man who leads the Eastern League with 16 home runs, is fourth in extra-base hits (28), fifth in slugging percentage (.520) and has reached base safely in 52 of his 59 games played this season will be missing “quite a bit of time” according to manager Tony Franklin.

“It’s a tough break for him,” Franklin said.

“We asked him to put up some numbers, and he went out and did that. But here comes the injury that’s going to derail his season, and I feel pretty bad about that. He’s probably pretty crushed about it…it’s significant enough to where it’s going to keep him out of the lineup for a good bit of time.”

Johnson was walking around in the clubhouse with a slight limp — nowhere near as severe as the one he exhibited after suffering the original injury legging out a single on Wednesday night — with his hamstring wrapped relatively lightly.  With All-Star selections to be revealed soon, it’s a shame that a likely well-deserved spot in the midsummer classic will also be taken away from him. 

The Thunder can expect to have four or five players named to the team, I’d suspect.  If Kelvin Perez doesn’t go, it’s a travesty.  Brett Marshall has put himself into contention with a strong first half, and Abe Almonte’s got to be in the conversation as well.

— I wrote about this in The Trentonian tonight, as part of my story on Johnson, but the New York Yankees have signed Jon Meloan from the independent Atlantic League’s Long Island Ducks.  So I’ll post their release on the Thunder being assigned the former big leaguer here instead:

(PR) (Central Islip, N.Y., June 22, 2012) – The Long Island Ducks today announced that right-handed pitcher Jon Meloan has been signed by the New York Yankees organization. Meloan becomes the fifth Duck to be signed by a Major League organization this year (Mitch Canham, Cardinals; Mike Rivera, Red Sox; Ryan Garko, Rays; Lew Ford, Orioles).
 
“Jon has done a terrific job at the back end of our bullpen this year,” says Ducks manager Kevin Baez. “We wish him continued success in the Yankees organization.”
 
Meloan will report to the Double-A Trenton Thunder of the Eastern League. While with the Ducks, the former Major Leaguer compiled a perfect 4-0 record with a team-best 0.99 ERA and 11 saves, good for second in the Atlantic League. The Kansas native struck out 36 batters while walking only eight and allowed just three earned runs in 27 and one-third innings pitched.
 
The 27-year-old has spent parts of three seasons in the big leagues with the Dodgers, Indians, and Athletics. He made his Major League debut on September 1, 2007, earning his first strikeout in two innings of work. Overall, the 27-year-old has a 4.58 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 13 Major League contests.

END PR

To be clear, that move is not official on the Thunder end.  A player would need to come off Trenton’s roster to accomodate Meloan, and I wonder if it wouldn’t happen until between games of the doubleheader…if that’s legal by Eastern League rules, it may not be.  The activation of Jeff Farnham gave Trenton three catchers…wonder if it’s Kyle Higashioka who gets sent down for Meloan.

— I’ve got injury updates, folks.  Spoke to Craig Heyer and Josh Romanski today, and informally with Walter Ibarra as well.

Ibarra started throwing today as he inches closer to a return from a hand injury…as for Heyer and Romanski, it turns out both are on what essentially are on the same throwing program, which entailed both throwing 25-pitch sim games today.  Also sounds like Romanski is a little further along in his progress than Heyer, but I’ll let them tell you all about it.

HEYER: “It was live BP, I threw 25 pitches, game-like.  I was pretty in front, but there were hitters in there and it felt good to get in there and finally face some hitters.  I threw everything; sinker, cutter, slider, changeup.  I think I have a live sim game coming up here in maybe two-three days.  One or two of those, and I think I’m back on the mound in the first part of July. 

“I feel really good.  Mechanically, I’m not really there yet, because I’ve taken so much time off.  But, my arm felt good and my body feels good, and I’m happy to get back out there.  Being sidelined for an arm injury is definitely frustrating, so I’m looking forward to getting back out there.  I think I’d either come back for the Portland series at their place or either the first or second game back here.”

ROMANSKI: “I felt good again on the mound today, I threw to some hitters.  I actually feel like I’m getting closer and closer.  Once hitters step in the box and you get on the mound, even for a sim game, you know getting in a game is right around the corner.  I think today was 25 (pitches).  Me and Craig are on the same exact throwing program, so we’re pretty much scheduled to be coming back in action around the same time.

“I don’t think I threw any cutters, I think it was all fastball, curveball, changeup, but it’s kind of tough when you’re only throwing 25 pitches.  You kind of want to get that fastball going.  For me, my second best pitch is my changeup, and I’d like to get that going too.  I threw some breaking balls in there, but mostly it was just fastball-changeup.

“The blister is gone, 100 percent gone.  The finger feels great.  Unless something comes out of nowhere, I expect to be back July 2nd.  (This wiped out) pretty much half the season for me.  It’s been pretty frustrating for me.  I’m a competitor, and I play a sport.  That’s what I like to do, I like to play that sport.  I like to compete.  Not being able to be on the field, especially for something as small as a skin blister is pretty tough.”

— Shaeffer Hall starts Game 1, Ryan Pope goes in Game 2.  5:05 start.  As for Pope, he came up as a starter but has been coming out of the bullpen for the past two years.  It seems like he’s just filling a hole right now until Heyer or Romanski can return.  But why?

“We’re giving a couple guys some breaks, they’ve reached their innings (limits) pretty quick,” Pope said. 

“I have to step in.  I think it’s harder to go from relieving to starting than it is starting to relieving.  Mainly because you have to build up, and I’m not used to that, I haven’t done it in two years.  Getting up and getting down is the hardest part.  I don’t how to take it, I just try to do what I can for the time being.  If that’s what they want to keep me as, that’s fine.  I’m always happy to have a job, that’s my main concern.”

Pope will likely throw 50 pitches plus one batter more tomorrow…

— I spoke to Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Anthony Ranaudo at length today.  Both highly regarded Red Sox prospects…Ranaudo is Boston’s most highly regarded pitching prospect, and will throw in one of the games tomorrow.  Bradley will play in just his second Double-A game tomorrow as well…I’ll have chats with both of them posted on here, hopefully with the Ranaudo one coming soon to prep you for his start.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

One Response to “Friday Thunder Notes”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    great to have you back Josh go get em

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