Get ready to meet the team
The Thunder’s preliminary roster was released to the media yesterday, and the celebrated switch pitcher’s name was nowhere to be found.
If you’re interested in laying your eyes on some of the top prospects in the organization, however — Austin Romine, D.J. Mitchell, Brandon Laird and David Adams, to name a few — then you’re in for a treat come Opening Day.
Romine, Mitchell, Laird and Adams are the marquee names, to be sure, but there were plenty of interesting players to be found on yesterday’s roster.
Take Damon Sublett, for instance.
He started last season as a second baseman, but was asked by the organization late in the season to take the Craig Biggio route and move into the outfield, where he will play in 2010.
While he’s adapted nicely enough to his new position, he’s been caught a little off guard by its intricacies.
“It’s harder than I thought it would be,” Sublett said. “I always used to think, ‘Oh, outfield, it can’t be that tough.’ It’s pretty tough out there, especially the corner positions. Center’s not too bad, but it’s fun, though. It’s a lot of fun."
Do you find pitchers more interesting than position players? Then Christian Garcia’s your man.
Garcia, already given the Opening Day assignment, is a right-hander with electric stuff who just can’t stay healthy.
To wit, the 24-year-old right-hander has pitched just 140 2/3 innings since 2006, yet still holds a position on the Yankees’ 40-man roster. It’s an honor that Garcia doesn’t take lightly.
“It’s awesome,” Garcia said. “It just shows that they still care and they’ve never forgotten about me. I’m pretty sure if I was with any other team, they would have dropped me already and said enough is enough. It’s amazing how they’ve stayed with me and stuck by my side.”
Sticking with guys on the 40-man roster, left-hander Wilkin De La Rosa will return to the club, but with a new role.
He and righty Lance Pendleton — both in the Thunder’s rotation last season — will move to the bullpen, instantly giving the team what appears to be, on paper at least, a very interesting collection of arms.
Manager Tony Franklin, who returns for his fourth season with Trenton, explained the move on Saturday at the Yankees Minor League Complex.
“In past years, when injuries occur, and at times when we think we need a spot starter, we’ve always had someone down there who was capable of doing that,” Franklin said. “I think either one of those guys are capable of doing that. In that regard, we’re well protected.”
Indeed, whether due to injuries or rain, the Thunder often found themselves in need of an extra arm in 2009. One man who filled that role more than capably was Josh Schmidt, an Eastern League All-Star and easily the Thunder’s best pitcher in 2009.
Astonishingly, after posting a 1.61 ERA and allowing just 57 hits — including just two home runs — in 83 2/3 stellar innings, Schmidt finds himself back in Trenton this April.
He joins Grant Duff, Wilkins Arias, Noel Castillo and Eric Wordekemper in a group of relievers who each spent time with the Thunder last season. The only newcomer to the bullpen is Cory Arbiso, a 23-year-old righty who spent most of last season with Low-A Charleston.