6:30 PM — Tons and tons and tons of good stuff coming out of the manager’s office today. Here’s a transcript of selected parts of my chat with Tony Franklin…
On possibly going to a six-man rotation: “We’ve got six starters, and I don’t know if it’s going to be a six-man rotation or a five-man rotation with possibly two starters pitching that same day. The fact of the matter is, they all have to pitch and we’re going to find a way to get them in there. I don’t know if a six-man rotation is the thing to call it. There could be piggybacking one starter with another, but either way, we’re going to get all these guys in there to pitch.”
On Ramirez/Turley: “We may do something different. When it comes to those two days guys, Ramirez and Turley, because they pitched yesterday, either one could start. I just have not had the conversation with Phelpsy yet to determine what actually is going to happen.”
On how much this situation is dictated by trying to limit pitchers innings: “It could help. When you’ve got situations like this where you’re going to piggyback guys, you know they’re going to be out there for five innings and probably no more, and a limited amount of pitches. If they come up with those pitches within three innings or so and they have a bad outing, you’re not killing yourself because you know you’ve got a guy who’s pretty fresh and has the capability of going five, six innings, so you don’t lose anything. But it also helps with saving some innings for them, so it’s a bonus. I don’t see it as a problem. I don’t think it’s unusual, maybe if we had a six-man rotation (it would be). We’ve always limited innings, and you do everything you can to protect your guys. I think this is a bonus for us, we haven’t had this situation in years past…now we’ve got six guys here who are capable of starting and pitching five innings, six innings, plus.”
On if it can be a detriment for young starting pitchers to not learn how to go deep into games: “I don’t think it’s a detriment. We’d like to see them in New York, and I think they’re going to get plenty of innings — enough innings — between now and the time they get to New York within a year, two or three. They’ll have enough time to get enough innings in. We’ve always talked about getting them a certain amount of innings, a certain amount of at-bats that hitters should get. I don’t see it as a detriment. I look at it as smart. I look at it as doing the best thing we could possibly do for them at this time. They’re young pitchers, they’ve got a ways to go, and why try to find it all in one season?”
On if Reegie Corona’s return is imminent: “Very, yes. Hopefully…I can’t give you a number, but hopefully within a week or two, maybe less than two. We’ll see. (His scar) is pretty nasty, huh? But he’s back? So that’s history. I’ve got some scars and some knowledge of some scars and I know how they impacted me and my body. To be back on the field right now, after two years, he put a lot of time into his rehab. It was probably very good and he probably did his rehab very good to get back on the field, because if you don’t, you don’t come back. I know he’s very anxious to play, and the injury he sustained coming out of spring training probably just tore him apart because you spend all your time rehabbing and thinking you’re going to get back in the game and start the season, and then you miss Opening Day. But his time is coming, and I’m sure he’s going to cherish his time when he gets back on the field. The rehab…is not pleasant. It’s hard. It’s boring. But you’ve got your goal in mind, and that’s to get back on the field, and he’s done that.”
On how to turn around Slade Heathcott (.169) after his poor start to the season: “We get him in the batting cage, video tape him and show him the tape, talk to him about it and see where he’s thinking and try to get him to relax and settle down, try to stop have him trying to get ten hits with one swing. But that’s what a young hitter does…the hits are important to them, but in order to get the hits, you’ve got to put a pretty good swing on it, and right now he hasn’t been swinging the way he’s capable of swinging. Sooner or later, it’s going to come, you just hope it’s going to be sooner. But, you get him in the cage and you talk to him and try to talk it through with him on a daily basis and correct the mechanical flaws. But the majority of what’s going on is right between here (points to his head). When you can get him to get that out of the way, you’re in pretty good shape. ”
4:05 PM — The big news of the day is again involving Jose Ramirez. Ramirez is slated to start for the Thunder on May 1, but nobody is expected to come out of the starting rotation at this time, meaning that Nik Turley will now start Thursday instead of Wednesday.
Graham Stoneburner has been promoted to Triple-A Scranton, and Josh Romanski has been activated from the DL.
Thunder lineup: Flores LF, Pirela 2B, Austin RF, Murphy C, Roller 1B, Heathcott CF, Medchill DH, Castillo SS, Stevenson 3B, Nuding P
Portland lineup: Wilkerson CF, Meneses 2B, Shaw 1B, Thomas LF, Almanzar 3B, Vitek DH, Spring C, Bermudez RF, Gibson SS, Ranaudo P
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com