Thunder section in the books
All pictures except those of Christian Garcia are taken by yours truly. Both Garcia shots were taken by Trentonian photographer Jackie Schear.
Until that comes out tomorrow, here's the story I wrote about Josh Schmidt coming back to Double-A:
TRENTON — Even after a season as the Thunder’s best pitcher — he posted a 1.61 ERA and was named to the Eastern League All-Star Game — Josh Schmidt is back with Trenton to begin 2010.
He obviously did all he could to prove to the Yankees’ brass that, despite underwhelming stuff, he deserved a chance to move up in the organization. That included trying his hand as a starter in the Venezuelan Winter League, where he was just as dominant as ever.
“I think it shows versatility, obviously,” Schmidt said yesterday at Thunder Media Day. “Starting is different than relieving, and if they need me to step into a different role at any time in the season, I can.”
Schmidt wouldn’t comment much on his feelings about having to return to Trenton, but what he did say spoke volumes.
“Obviously I can count,” Schmidt said. “There’s a lot of guys who can pitch up there in Triple-A right now. I can see why it happened.”
If Schmidt needs any inspiration, he needs only to look back to last year at this time.
The snub last year was George Kontos, who led the organization in strikeouts in 2008, yet lined up as the Thunder’s No. 2 starter when 2009 rolled around.
He didn’t stay in that position for long, though, moving up to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after just four starts.
Still, it seemed hard yesterday for Schmidt to wrap his head around the reality that he was still two steps away from the major leagues.
“Everybody wants to move up,” Schmidt said. “That’s the nature of the beast, it’s what we’re all here trying to do.
Roadblocks aside, Schmidt said, his key to advancement is the same as it was last year: Going out there every time and doing the best he can.
“I’m just here doing the best I can, trying to help them win ballgames. What happens happens, I don’t have a whole lot of control over it. I’ve got to just pitch, and let other people make decisions. That’s not my job, that’s their job.”