READING — With a cleanly shaven head and Yankees pullover on his torso, it wasn’t hard to spot David Aardsma in the cramped confines of the visiting clubhouse at FirstEnergy Stadium. But it had nothing to do with his look, and everything to do with the smile on his face as he watched his new teammates pick away at the delicious contents of the white, plastic trays with the “Outback Steakhouse” logo stamped into them.
“I got them a little spread, it’s kind of tradition to get a spread whenever you’re down here playing with the guys,” he said. “You want them to eat good while you’re here.”
Trenton is certainly hopeful that he pitches as well as he provides on Thursday night, when he’ll pitch one inning as the likely starter of Game 2.
“From what I know, I’ll be starting tomorrow and throw one inning; 25 pitches,” he said. “Hopefully, unlike last time, I don’t hit my pitch limit. I’ll get that one inning, throw all my pitches and get out.”
More specifically, the Thunder need him to get outs. After all, this is the playoffs, this is what all these guys have worked all seson long towards. Aardsma, who has 254 games worth of big league experience with five different teams, was signed to a two-year deal prior to this season, but not much if anything was expected of him this year given his recovery from Tommy John surgery. While the 30-year-old righty reliever is closing in on a major league return, he’s well aware of the Double-A situation he’s been thrust into, albeit temporarily.
“Not really, it’s just the nature of the timing of it,” said Aardsma, when asked if he felt he was in a weird position.
“In 2008, when I was rehabbing with the Red Sox, I pitched for the Lowell Spinners in a playoff game. It’s kind of funny that you’re doing a rehab assignment during the playoffs, but really it’s kind of normal. It’s one of those things that’s in baseball, it happens.”
All of this is great, but…Shaeffer Hall didn’t know about any of that until being informed by reporters after the game that Aardsma was starting and not him. No matter, he says.
“If we had won tonight, I would have had to go out there and do the same thing as if we were down 0-1,” he said.
“Hopefully, I can give my team a chance to win tomorrow and tie the series up going back…I had no idea I was doing that, but it’s going to be a little different to change the time and preparation as far as going out there and getting stretched. We’ll just have to try to get it done. No matter the circumstances, I have to go out there and do my best and try to get us the win.”
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com