Blogs > Minor Matters

Run by The Trentonian's Nick Peruffo, this blog will provide daily multimedia coverage of the Trenton Thunder.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Back from Houston, Pendleton ready for the pen

“I was really excited,” he said yesterday after a bullpen session at the Yankees’ minor league complex. “It’s a good experience to be taken in that Rule 5 draft, and (with) a hometown team. It was really exciting to have that experience and opportunity. Wish it would have worked out, but you can’t cry over spilled milk.”

Ultimately, poor control spelled the end of his brief Astros’ audition. He gave up nine hits and issued eight walks over 7 2/3 innings with Houston before being returned to the Yankees earlier this week.

He’s slated to return to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to start 2011, this time in a bullpen role. He was scheduled to be a reliever last season with the Thunder, but an early injury to Christian Garcia pushed him quickly back into the rotation.

Even though he’d prefer to be plying his trade in the major leagues, Pendleton says ready to begin a new phase in his development.

“It’s just going to be a different routine, something to learn. It’ll be good to get that opportunity and experience that way, and that way it’s just another aspect of my game I can learn.”

The whispers around camp about Kei Igawa’s possible assignment to Trenton have gotten louder in recent days. Word is the organization has grown frustrated with the left-hander blocking the progress of some of their other relievers, like Josh Schmidt, who has produced excellent numbers in Double-A each of the last two seasons but has barely sniffed Scranton.

Although he’s been a massive bust as far as the big club is concerned, Igawa, 31, would be a boon for the Thunder’s bullpen.

Over his four seasons with Triple-A, Igawa has produced a 32-22 mark with a 3.87 ERA and 361 strikeouts against 123 walks. The win total also stands as the best in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre history.

There’s another intriguing name that’s begun getting mentioned as a possibility for the Thunder’s relief corps: Brian Anderson, the former outfielder with the White Sox.

Eight seasons after Chicago made him its first-round selection, Anderson signed a minor-league deal this offseason to try to resurrect his career – as a pitcher.

If he were to make the Thunder’s bullpen, he certainly wouldn’t be the first pitcher they’ve had who’s comfortable with a bat in his hand.

Wilkin De La Rosa, now with the Dodgers, as well as Marlins reliever Mike Dunn both started their careers as outfielders in New York’s system. When they failed to produce at the plate, the Yankees took advantage of their strong arms by converting them to pitchers.

So far, it seems to have taken quite well for Dunn, who, despite being dealt twice in the past two offseasons – once for Javier Vazquez and once for Dan Uggla –has established himself as a powerful left-handed specialist.

Once again, heavy rains in the Tampa area – estimates at the airport were in the 4-inch range – forced cancellation of all scheduled minor league games at the Yankees’ minor-league complex. Tomorrow, depending on how the fields in Dunedin fared, the upper-level work groups are scheduled to play Toronto’s affiliates on the road.

On Sunday, the final day of camp, the Yankees will hold a pair of split-squad games before the team breaks camp and players begin the journey toward their various destinations.

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