Blogs > Minor Matters

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

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Derek Jeter is coming to Trenton (if everything goes well tomorrow)

Derek Jeter is coming to Trenton, and he could be ready to resume his chase for 3,000 hits by early next week, according to the Associated Press.

The injured Yankees shortstop went through his latest round of rehab work Thursday in Tampa, Fla., and barring a setback on Friday, will make the second rehab appearance with the Thunder of his career.

Thus time around, he'll play two games for the Thunder, Saturday and Sunday, when the team faces the Altoona Curve at Waterfront Park. He went 8-for-18 in five games for Trenton in 2003, when he was recovering from a shoulder injury he suffered sliding into third base in the season's first game.

Jeter's tour of Trenton will come on the heels of Yankee teammate Phil Hughes, who pitched 6 1/3 innings on Wednesday against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

Fellow "core four" member Andy Pettitte - now retired - made two rehab starts with the Thunder last September, also against the Fisher Cats and Curve, during the Eastern League Playoffs.

Other notable rehabs with the Thunder have included former Yankees slugger Hideki Matsui, 300-game winner Roger Clemens, Lance Berkman, Jose Molina, Carl Pavano and Kevin Brown.

Sidelined by a strained right calf, Jeter is six hits shy of 3,000. A return next week could put him on track to reach the milestone at Yankee Stadium during a four-game series against Tampa Bay from July 7-10.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

So, I should never go golfing again.

This is what I learned on about the sixth hole of my post-Hughes outing this afternoon. It was at this point that I decided I had gone far too long (about an hour) without checking my Twitter. What did I find when I got there and scrolled through my timeline? Oh, just a bombshell. That's all.

Quoth the Twitter: "@Ledger_Yankees: If Jeter is ready by Saturday, he'll rehab in Trenton, Cashman says."

When Jeter last rehabbed in Trenton, I was about a month from graduating high school in Beaverton, Ore. That was eight years ago. He played five games during that stint, but will probably play just two this time around.

Here are some things that have changed since Jeter last set foot in Waterfront Park:

The price of gas was $1.43 per gallon

The top ten songs on the Billboard charts were as follows:

1. In Da Club - 50 Cent -- ninth straight week at the top spot
2. Get Busy - Sean Paul
3. Ignition - R. Kelly
4. God Bless the U.S.A. -- American Idol Finalists
5. 21 Questions - 50 Cent
6. When I'm Gone - 3 Doors Down
7. I Know What You Want - Busta Rhymes f. Mariah Carey and Flipmode Squad
8. Can't Let You Go - Fabolous f. Mike Shorey and Lil' Mo
9. Picture - Kid Rock f. Sheryl Crow
10. Rock Your Body - Justin Timberlake

- The reigning Academy Award winner for Best Picture was "Chicago"

- Twitter was three years away from existence

- Facebook was a year away from inception

- Manny Banuelos was 12 years old

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The Mark Newman interview to end all Mark Newman interviews

Mike Ashmore and I conducted this interview with Yankees player development guru Mark Newman on Tuesday. His questions indicated with "MA," whereas mine are indicated with "JN." Mark's answers are indicated with a simple "A" for answer. Enjoy.

Where is Adams in terms of coming back to this team?

A: Adams is farther way. Adams will not come directly here anyway. He’ll probably go play in the Florida State League before he comes here.

JN: Will that be a rehab, or will that be officially on Tampa’s roster?

A: They don’t do minor league rehabs there, so he has to go on their roster.

JN: Has the fact that he’s taken so long to come back been frustrating for you?

A: It’s been frustrating for him. I empathize with him. One, he is a very good player and prospect. Two, he works beyond diligently at his craft defensively and offensively, and throughout this process at the rehab work that he faces. So he’s frustrated, but when you get down to it, what good does that do you?

What he needs to do, and what he does do, is work at it every day. Humanness dictates that there’s some frustration, but he’s a smart enough guy to know that if you spend too much time on those feelings and emotions, it’s going to make your task even more difficult.

JN: As for Stoneburner?

A: Stoneburner’s pitching in games on a rehab assignment in the GCL. He’s got some more hoops to jump through. He had two innings in his last start.

MA: And Bleich?

A: Bleich is a long way away. He’s not imminent. There’s no reason to worry about him.

JN: I assume you were made aware of Slade Heathcott’s incident this year in Charleston. Was there any talk of possible internal discipline for his actions?

A: There wasn’t any internal discipline.

JN: When you see a kid who has Heathcott’s background, and this happens, does it worry you a little?

A: He’s doing well at what he’s doing. I was no more worried about him than I would have been anyone else. He’s been great. We’ve had zero problems with him.

MA: Betances and Banuelos are obviously the talk of the organization. How would you compare those two in terms of where they’re at right now?

A: Very close. They’re both pitching well here. They could both pitch better here. They could both improve the control and command of their fastball, so they’re very close in my mind.

MA: Is one ahead of the other?

A: I don’t really think so. If there were, I wouldn’t say.

JN: That third B, Brackman, are his issues mostly between the ears?

A: He’s not doing well. He’s scuffling. I think it’s a confidence thing. More than anything else, it’s that.

JN: What do you do to treat something like that?

A: He’s working at it, and he’s got to work through the problems. When athletes struggle, the good ones, what they do is call on past successes and they run that video through their brain. Brack’s got to do that sort of thing.

He’s got to remember how good a pitcher he is. At the end of the year last year, he was a good as anyone here. In the playoffs, a lot of our guys said he was our best pitcher in the playoffs.

He can do that again. It’s been a tough year for him, but he’s certainly good enough and he’s certainly working at it.

JN: Do you have a sports psychologist on staff to deal with such problems if need be?

A: We’ve got a department of four people that deal with those issues specifically, but all of our coaches do too. It’s an ongoing conversation. What can we do to help our players max out their performance potential? Coaches and sports performance experts – I mean, coaches are performance experts – our coaches understand these things, our sports performance department understands these things. We try to educate players about how to think and feel during competition, during preparation for competition. It’s constant.

We gameplan for three aspects with our athletes:

∙ Fundamental – how you catch, throw and hit

∙ Physical – How you get stronger, faster, quicker, bigger

∙ Mental emotionally – How you think and how you feel

All those things are intertwined. They don’t exist independently of each other. We understand that we need a program in those three areas for all of our players.

Depending on the individual and depending on where you are in this guy’s career, one of those things may be predominant. Brack right now is working on confidence. It’s what he’s got to do. It’s taken a couple of hits, his confidence has, but this is a game for tough people.

When I say tough people, it’s not just run over catchers, or break up double plays or run into walls to catch fly balls. A lot of the toughness required in this business is mental. It’s the ability to fight through junk. That’s where he’s at. He’s in a tough spot, we’ve got other players who have been in tough spots too.

MA: Wanted to ask you about the hitting coach situation. Ever since Matos left, I guess things have been in flux a little bit. When the situation happened, what was your reaction?

A: My initial reaction was just to find out went on. After that, you gather facts and you make judgments. As a result of that, we decided that it wasn’t going to work to have him here for the remainder of the season. We’re lucky we’ve got James Rowson, who’s going to spend a ton of his time here. James is an excellent hitting coach, and Pat Roessler’s our farm director. He’s a former major league hitting coach and hitting coordinator, and he’s exceptional too. So these guys will be in good hands.

MA: What is Matos’ status in the organization right now?

A: He’s still a member of the organization, he’s just not here right now.

JN: What was behind the decision to keep Cito Culver at Staten Island this year rather than move him to Charleston with Gary Sanchez?

A: Different player, different needs. Sanchez was probably the premier performer in the Gulf Coast League a year ago. Cito did a solid job. That’s all it is.

MA: Is there anybody here knocking on the door of Scranton?

A: Not right at the moment. Everybody expects Manny and Dellin to go, and they’ll go when they’re consistent, when they put together the kinds of performances we’re looking for. That doesn’t necessarily mean shutouts. It means when they continue to execute.

Austin Romine could play at any Triple-A field in the country and be at home, but that’s just a matter of he and Montero need to catch.

JN: With Montero, the word complacency has been thrown around. Is that something you’ve seen?

A: No. I see him work every day. I see his defense improve. I think his defense has improved significantly over a year ago, and I think he continues to take steps in the right direction. He’s not putting up the offensive numbers he did last year, but last year his offense came in the last two months, two and a half months, and that’s where we are now.

JN: Are you surprised it took him that long to turn it on in Triple-A last year?

A: He’s 21 years old. He’d be a college senior. I’m surprised he’s in Triple-A, and that he’s working on his second year in Triple-A.

MA: People talk a lot about the Hughes Rules, the Joba Rules, all that kind of stuff. When you see some of your younger guys break down a little bit like they have, not that I’m at all suggesting anything wrong is going on, do you second guess the way you’re progressing these guys along in terms of pitch counts, innings, stuff like that?

A: Second guess how? Should have pitched them more, should have pitched them less?

MA: In any sort of sense.

A: No. I’ve done this too long and seen too many injuries. When we go through last year and have basically no injuries, and I tell our young guys -- they think, for a fleeting moment characterized by a lack of humility, that we’ve figured out how to keep pitchers healthy – you’re always going to deal with pitchers injuries.

There are three things that you can control: Mechanics, conditioning and workload. You cannot control DNA, and you cannot control the fact that the human body is not designed to do this. So, our pitching coaches try to help guys develop deliveries that are going to help them sustain. Our strength and conditioning coaches get involved in arm exercise, cardio, core, flexibility exercises designed to help these guys sustain.

The programs are designed in conjunction with the best doctors and physical therapists in the country, the Andrewses and the extraordinary orthopedic surgeons who do so many of these things. That’s a lot of information, and no one’s got answers.

Every once in a while, some club will start talking about this or that program they have – tread lightly. As soon as you think you’ve got the answer – as they say in golf, as soon as you think you’ve got the key they change the lock. I’ve done this long enough – as a lot of us have here – to have a healthy amount of humility about how hard this stuff is.

We monitor pitches, innings, increases, workloads, times a year, long-throwing programs, core exercises, when they do their arm exercises, how many times during the week, how many reps … no detail is beyond our concern. Having said that, we don’t control the whole environment.

JN: You mentioned DNA. While you obviously can’t look at DNA itself, can you go back and look at a guy’s family history to see if there’s anything there?

A: If they had a mother and a father who were pitchers that pitched 300 innings a year for 20 years like Nolan Ryan, you’d probably say: Well, there’s a shot. Beyond that, you look for bigger and stronger, but jeez, who’s bigger and stronger than Grant Duff? Tim Norton, who’s bigger and stronger than him?

They work very hard. Stuff happens. If we used them four days in a row, if the starter went 160 (pitches) because we were trying to win a playoff game, then we should be rightly scrutinized. Our primary objective is to produce and get these guys ready to play, and sometimes they get hurt. This year, we’ve had more than our share, as has our big league staff.

JN: Staying on medical for a little bit, Alan Horne had platelet-rich plasma therapy. Was he the first in the organization to have that procedure done?

A: No. We’ve used it for knees, hamstrings … it’s kind of en vogue now. We’ll know in a couple of years how good it is.

JN: Which gets to the point of the question: What is the organization’s approach to newer medical procedures?

A: Our doctors are doing it. I’m not doing it. Casey Stengel once said about a player “his limits are limitless.” My limits in the medical field are limitless. I don’t know, but our Dr. Ahmad, in New York, (and others like him), they have the current research. We defer.

JN: Corban Joseph has really done well this year. What are your guys in the organization saying about the returns on him this season?

A: Well. We love his bat. He works very hard at defense. He had a really great double play turn the other day in New Britain. First and third, one out – it was a heck of a play. He’s done well.

JN: Same kind of question with Jose Pirela. First two months were bad, but now he’s turned it on. What do you think caused that turnaround?

A: Look at his month to months last year – same thing. He told me it was weather. First two months, he’s never played in cold weather, he’s from Venezuela. I said, well what happened the first two months of last year, in Tampa? It was the same thing.

Not sure he could play in the league? I don’t know. That’s rank amateur psychology. He hit a long home run to left-center in New Britain, I mean it was a bomb.

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Thanks to Ben Youngerman for the title. It kicks butt. Way better than Phil-anthropy, or whatever nonsense I would have come up with.

Anyway ...

The main story today is obviously Phil Hughes and his second rehab start with the Thunder. He's slated for around 85 pitches today. Shaeffer Hall will be his caddy. No word just yet on if he will need another start. That, obviously, will be determined by how he performs today.

The Fisher Cats are a feisty bunch, and could shake his confidence terribly. Even Adeiny Hechavarria. Especially Adeiny Hechavarria.

The Hughes will meet with the media following his start, and I'll have a livestream video of the press conference. I'll tweet the link to the livestream, but if that fails to work for some reason, go to and look for jnorris427's channel.

More updates later.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Around the System - June 27

Triple-A: Scranton 4, Durham 3

Austin Krum: 1-for-5, R, outfield assist
Luis Nunez: 3-for-5, 2 2B, 3 RBI
Mike Lamb: 2-for-4, 2B
Jesus Montero: 1-for-4
Brandon Laird: 1-for-4
D.J. Mitchell: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, 4 SO
George Kontos: IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO

Double-A: Trenton 6, New Hampshire 4

Ray Kruml: 2-for-5, 3B, R
Austin Romine: 2-for-5, 2B
Damon Sublett: 2-for-2, 2 BB, R, RBI
DeAngelo Mack: 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI, R
Craig Heyer: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, 2 SO
Chase Whitley: 2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO

High-A: Tampa 6, Brevard County 3

Abe Almonte: 2-for-4, 3 R, BB
Walter Ibarra: 1-for-5, 3B, 2 R, RBI
Melky Mesa: 1-for-3, RBI
Zoilo Almonte: 1-for-4, 2 RBI
Kyle Roller: 2-for-5, 2B, HR
Sean Black: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO

Low-A: Charleston 3, Augusta 0

Eduardo Sosa: 1-for-5, 3B, 2 RBI
Kevin Mahoney: 2-for-4, 2B
Kyle Higashioka: 2-for-3, 2B, R, BB
Gary Sanchez: 0-for-3, R, BB
Kelvin De Leon: 2-for-4, 2B, RBI
Jose Toussen: 1-for-3, 2B, R
Nik Turley: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 7 SO
Dan Burawa: 3 IP, H, 0 R, BB, SO

Short Season: Staten Island 7, Hudson Valley 3

Mason Williams: 2-for-3, 2 RBI, BB
Cito Culver: 0-for-4, RBI, BB
Shane Brown: 2-for-3, R
Casey Stevenson: 2-for-3, 2 2B, 3 RBI
Mark Montgomery: IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO

Dominican Summer League 1: Nationals 3, Yankees 0

Fernando Perez: 1-for-3
Ericson Leonora: 1-for-3
Gian Arias: 1-for-3
Roybell Herrera: 1-for-3, 2B
Angel Rincon: 4 IP, H, R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO
Cristofer Cabrera: 2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, BB, 5 SO

Dominican Summer League 2: Yankees 1, Astros 1

Allison Reyes: 1-for-3
Chris Tamarez: 1-for-3, RBI
Sandy Brito: 1-for-3
Jose Javier: 1-for-3, 2B, R

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Postgame video of DeAngelo Mack, Damon Sublett, Rob Lyerly, Jose Pirela and Adeiny Hechavarria

DeAngelo Mack doubles home the go-ahead runs

Damon Sublett singles home the game-tying score

Rob Lyerly's first Double-A at-bat at home

Jose Pirela singles off of Henderson Alvarez

Adeiny Hechavarria robs Austin Romine of a knock

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Entry interviews with Chase Whitley and Josh Romanski

As I mentioned earlier, Josh Romanski and Chase Whitley are up from Tampa. Fernando Hernandez has been sent to Scranton to make room for Whitley, who is active today. Another move will be made tomorrow to accommodate Romanski, who will pitch out of the bullpen. Here are the entry interviews I and Mike Ashmore conducted with both pitchers.

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Whitley and Romanski up ... someone ... is leaving

The Thunder haven't played a game at Waterfront Park in 10 days, and there are two new additions to the roster. Josh Romanski and Chase Whitley, a starter and a reliever, are here. No word as to who is leaving yet or getting shelved.

Before he was called up, Romanski was 6-5 with a 2.99 ERA and 51 strikeouts against 14 walks in 69 1/3 innings. Whitley, the second 2010 draftee to play with Trenton, was 0-1 with a 1.68 ERA in 48 1/3 frames. He struck out 40 and walked just 10.

If you want some early video of Romanski when he was with Charleston, here you go:

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Newman: Romine back tonight, Garrison starts tomorrow for Thunder

I e-mailed Mark Newman about an hour ago regarding injury recovery for Steve Garrison, Austin Romine and Graham Stoneburner. Here's what he said.

Austin Romine - "to play tonight"
Steve Garrison - "to start tomorrow in Trenton"
Graham Stoneburner - "is in Tampa and will have rehab starts in the GCL"

Romine has been out since June 2 with a mild concussion he suffered on a play at the plate against Altoona. He was named to the Futures Game roster yesterday (his second trip). Before the injury, he was hitting .298/.362/.421 with four homers and 31 RBIs.

Garrison, a native of Trenton, had been out since a hamstring injury forced him out of his May 3 start after just one inning. He made a rehab start with Staten Island on June 21, going five shutout innings against the Hudson Valley Renegades. He allowed four hits, a walk and struck out four.

Stoneburner last pitched for the Thunder on April 21. Neck problems made him a late scratch from his next scheduled start, which would have come in his hometown of Richmond, Va. He threw two innings in the GCL today, striking out four. His only baserunner came on a hit by pitch.

Additionally, David Adams has been rehabbing with the GCL Yankees. In three contests, he is 6-for-9 with a double and three runs scored. He has been removed around the sixth inning in each game, usually replaced by Taylor Anderson.

Someone with knowledge of the situation said that he expected Adams' rehab to be on the longer side. I would imagine that the next step is to play full games.

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Some Cito Culver, some Mason Williams and some Angelo Gumbs

Four Bryan Mitchell strikeouts

I drove down to Aberdeen last night to watch the Staten Island Yankees and starter Bryan Mitchell. He didn't disappoint, fanning eight IronBirds in four innings. He threw a really nice low-to-mid 90s fastball and, toward the later innings, a hard-biting curve. Here are four of his strikeouts.

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Around the System - June 23

Triple-A: Scranton 10, Norfolk 5

Austin Krum: 1-for-4, 2 R, BB, SB, outfield assist
Kevin Russo: 2-for-4, 2 R, RBI, BB, SB
Mike Lamb: 1-for-4, 2 RBI
Brandon Laird: 2-for-5, RBI, R
Terry Tiffee: 2-for-5, RBI
Jordan Parraz: 2-for-5, HR, 2 RBI
P.J. Pilittere: 2-for-3, R, RBI
Greg Smith: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, ER, 2 BB, 2 SO
Andrew Brackman: 0.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, BB, 0 SO, 32 pitches/18 strikes

Double-A: Trenton 6, Portland 2

Corban Joseph: 1-for-4, R, BB
Rob Lyerly: 1-for-5, R
Cody Johnson: 2-for-5, 2 2B, R
Brad Suttle: 1-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI, R
Jose Pirela: 1-for-4, 2B, RBI, R
Damon Sublett: 2-for-3, 2B, RBI, R
Jose Gil: 2-for-4, RBI
Manny Banuelos: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, 6 SO -- 96 pitches/61 strikes
Pat Venditte: 3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO -- 60 pitches/43 strikes

High-A: Tampa 8, Dunedin 1

Walter Ibarra: 2-for-5, 2B, 2 R
J.R. Murphy: 2-for-3, 2B, R, 2 RBI
Zoilo Almonte: 3-for-4, R, 2 RBI
Luke Murton: 1-for-2, 2B, 2 BB, 2 R, RBI
Taylor Grote: 2-for-4, R, 2 outfield assists
Jairo Heredia: 6 IP, 5 H, R, ER, 3 BB, 6 SO

Short Season: Staten Island 3, Aberdeen 2

Mason Williams: 2-for-5
Cito Culver: 1-for-4, BB, SB
Cody Grice: 1-for-4, R, BB
Zach Wilson: 1-for-4, R, BB
Shane Brown: 3-for-3, 2B, HR, 2 RBI
Bryan Mitchell: 4 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO, WP

Gulf Coast League: Blue Jays 3, Yankees 2

Taylor Anderson: 1-for-3, R
Yeicok Calderon: 1-for-3, R, 2 SB
Daniel Lopez: 2-for-3
Jorge Alcantara: 1-for-3, 2B
Evan Rutckyj: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 SO

Dominican Summer League 1: Yankees 4, Braves 3

Rafael Polo: 1-for-4, R, RBI, BB, CS
Ericson Leonora: 1-for-3, 2B, R
Jose Polanco: 2-for-4, SB
Eladio Moronta: 0-for-3, RBI, BB
Jhon Saavedra: 2 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO

Dominican Summer League 2: Yankees 9, Rays 4 -- Game 1

Jhoan Gomez: 2-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI, BB
Mikeson Oliberto: 2-for-4, 2B, R, RBI, SB
Renzo Martini: 1-for-4, 2B, RBI
Julio Pina: 3-for-4, 3 2B, 2 R
Freddy Noguera: 3-for-4, R, 4 RBI

Dominican Summer League 2: Yankees 7, Rays 2 -- Game 2

Chris Tamarez: 1-for-3, R, BB
Sandy Brito: 1-for-4, 2B
Wilmer Romero: 0-for-3, R, RBI, BB
Jhoan Gomez: 2-for-3, 2B, R
Renzo Martini: 1-for-1, 2B, R, 2 RBI, 2 BB
Mikeson Oliberto: 1-for-3, 2 RBI

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Around the System - June 21

Triple-A: Norfolk 8, Scranton 1

Greg Golson: 0-for-3, BB, R
Kevin Russo: 1-for-4
Jesus Montero: 1-for-4
Brandon Laird: 0-for-2, 2 BB
Doug Bernier: 1-for-2, BB
David Phelps: 5 IP, 12 H, 6 R, 6 ER, BB, 3 SO - 83 pitches/55 strikes
George Kontos: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, SO
Andrew Brackman: IP, H, R, ER, BB, SO

Double-A: Portland 13, Trenton 5

Ray Kruml: 3-for-5, 2 R
Corban Joseph: 2-for-3, 2B, 2 BB
Rob Lyerly: 3-for-5, 2B, R, 2 RBI
Jose Pirela: 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, BB
Jose Gil: 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI
Dellin Betances: 2.1 IP, 4 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 4 BB, SO, 3 WP, HBP - 82 pitches/42 strikes

High-A: Tampa 11, Clearwater 9

Abraham Almonte: 2-for-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB
Walter Ibarra: 2-for-3, 2B, RBI, SB
Kevin Mahoney: 2-for-5, HR, 2 R
Zoilo Almonte: 2-for-4, HR, BB
Rob Segedin: 1-for-4, R, RBI, BB
Kyle Higashioka: 1-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, BB
Chase Whitley: 2 IP, 4 H, R, ER, BB, 2 SO

Short-Season: Staten Island 1, Hudson Valley 0 - 12 innings

Angelo Gumbs: 1-for-4, R, BB
Rey Nunez:
1-for-4, BB
Cody Grice:
1-for-4, RBI
Ben Gamel:
0-for-3, 2 BB
Steve Garrison:
5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, BB, 4 SO - rehab start
Richard Martinez: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 SO

Gulf Coast League: Yankees 3, Braves 2

Claudio Custodio: 2-for-5, R, RBI
Tyler Austin: 2-for-4, RBI
Yeicok Calderon: 2-for-4, 2B
Damian Taveras: 1-for-2, 2B, RBI, BB
Jose Rosario: 1-for-3, 2B, BB
Caleb Cotham: 2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, ER, BB, 3 SO
Taylor Morton: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO

Dominican Summer League 1: Yankees 10, Cubs 2

Eladio Moronta: 2-for-5, HR, 2 RBI
Yamiel Orozco: 3-for-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
Jose Figueroa: 2-for-4, 2B, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI
Ericson Leonora: 1-for-5, 2B, R, RBI
Jose Pena: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO

Dominican Summer League 2: Pirates 14, Yankees 5

Chris Tamarez: 1-for-5, R
Wilmer Romero: 1-for-3
Jhoan Gomez: 2-for-3, 2B, HR, 2 R
Renzo Martini: 1-for-4, 2B, RBI

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Around the System - June 20

Triple-A: Scranton 2, Norfolk 0

Jesus Montero: 2-for-4, 2B
Jordan Parraz: 1-for-2, 2B, RBI, R, BB
P.J. Pilittere: 1-for-3, 2B, RBI
Adam Warren: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 SO - took a no-hitter into the seventh
Lance Pendleton: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 2 SO

High-A: Tampa 10 Clearwater 3

Abe Almonte: 1-for-5, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, SB
Walter Ibarra: 3-for-6, 2B, HR, 4 RBI
Luke Murton: 3-for-4, 2B, RBI, R
Kyle Higashioka: 4-for-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
Josh Romanski: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, 11 SO

Short-Season: Staten Island 8, Hudson Valley 3

Mason Williams: 2-for-3, R, SB
Cito Culver: 2-for-4, R
Angelo Gumbs: 2-for-4, R, 2 RBI
Rey Nunez: 2-for-5, 2B, R
Cody Grice: 2-for-4, 2B, R, RBI
Ali Castillo: 3-for-4, 2B, RBI
Evan DeLuca: 4 IP, H, 0 R, 4 BB, 6 SO

Gulf Coast League: Yankees 6, Braves 5

Ravel Santana: 1-for-5, HR
David Adams: 2-for-3, 2B, R
Tyler Austin: 2-for-4, 2B, 2 R
Isaias Tejeda: 3-for-4, 2 2B, R, 4 RBI
Claudio Custodio: 2-for-4, RBI
Dante Bichette: 0-for-3, BB
Gabe Encinas: 5 IP, 3 H, R, ER, 2 BB, 5 SO
Edwin Rodriguez: 3 IP, 4 H, R, ER, BB, 6 SO

Dominican Summer League 1: Yankees 3, Marlins 1

Eladio Moronta: 2-for-3, R, RBI
Elio De La Rosa: 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI
Gian Arias: 2-for-3, 2B
Melvin Mercedes: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 SO

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Hughes to start for Thunder on Friday in New Britain, Horne coming, Adams rehabbing, Maruszak and Lyerly promoted

TRENTON -- The Thunder could be getting quite a bit of reinforcements in the coming days. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman confirmed yesterday that Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes’ next rehab start would come with Trenton on Friday, when the team opens its set with the New Britain Rock Cats.

Hughes struck out seven in 4 1/3 innings with the Short-Season Staten Island Yankees on Sunday, and reached as high as 95 miles per hour with his fastball.

Also in the arms department, Alan Horne confirmed to The Trentonian that he will be joining the Thunder and is scheduled to start on Wednesday against the Portland Sea Dogs at Hadlock Field.

Horne was the 2007 Eastern League Pitcher of the Year, and last pitched for Trenton in 2009, when he went 0-3 with an 11.15 ERA in 15 1/3 innings before succumbing to a rotator cuff injury. He had surgery to remove a bone spur in his shoulder, and underwent platelet-rich plasma therapy to heal the rotator cuff.

Second baseman David Adams, who last played on May 22, 2010, with Thunder, was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI in the Gulf Coast League yesterday, a sign that he is getting closer to returning to action.

When he is fully healed from plantar fasciitis and the aftereffects of a broken foot he suffered in that May contest, it is likely he’ll return to the Thunder.

Trenton utilityman Addison Maruszak has been promoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, according to Scranton Times-Tribune beat writer Donnie Collins. Maruszak has spent time at catcher, first base, third base and in right field this season, and was hitting .218/.335/.306 before the promotion.

To account for his absence, Trenton is receiving Rob Lyerly from Tampa. Lyerly was hitting .315/.363/.462 with four homers and 46 RBIs.

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Pirela heating up with the weather

TRENTON — As is often the case with Latino players experiencing the cold reality of early spring in the Northeast, Jose Pirela had a devil of a time in his first month as the Thunder’s shortstop.

His offensive production over 19 games in April amounted to just a dozen singles and six walks. It took him until April 29 to drive in a run, and he didn’t collect his first extra-base hit (a triple) until May 4 against Portland.

When the weather warmed up in May, however, Pirela’s play did not. His numbers at the plate continued to hover around the Mendoza line, and his fielding was no better. He managed to clank 13 balls over the first two months, including six over the season’s first week.

This month, though, something seems to have clicked for Pirela, who has spent the last three weeks tearing the cover off the ball. Since June 1, the 21-year-old is hitting a sparkling .329/.368/.543 with seven doubles, a triple, three longballs and 13 RBIs.

“He’s doing a great job,” Yankees roving hitting instructor James Rowson said. “He started off the season a little tough and battled through it, and here, as of late, he’s really starting to see the rewards from hard work.”

Pirela freely admits that the frigid April temperatures affected his game. As a young man plucked from the balmy climates of Venezuela, and just a year removed from a season in Tampa, it’s safe to say there was very little the Yankees could do to prepare him for a league that frequently sees snow in the first month of its season.

“This is my first time starting the year in the cold weather,” he said with the help of Dellin Betances, who acted as interpreter. “I try to not use that as an excuse, and I’m just trying to use that to get better and better during the season.”

The hard work Rowson referenced is evident at around 2 p.m. before every game, when he and second baseman Corban Joseph practice their footwork around the bag and double-play exchanges. The two have been a keystone combination since 2009, when both were members of the Charleston RiverDogs, the Yankees’ South Atlantic League affiliate.

That early work has helped Joseph and Pirela combine on 31 of Trenton’s 130 double plays, and Joseph says that he’s become a better defender because of the hours he’s put in with his up-the-middle partner.

“The Yankees really stress about having that common ground and being able to know pretty much what each of us are thinking,” Joseph said. “Just being around him working and seeing how he turns double plays, getting used to his pivots, his throws, where he likes the ball, I think that’s a big factor. … When he plays the game hard, it’s a virus. It travels around and everyone wants to play as hard as he does.”

It was Joseph’s injured wrist late last year that opened a spot for Pirela in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit just .180 with a homer and five RBIs with the Phoenix Desert Dogs. The point of the trip, however, was to get a few more games under his belt before thrusting him into the upper levels. That the league houses some of the sport’s top young talent also didn’t hurt.

“It was a great experience, and it’s definitely something that I think is going to help me through my career,” he said. “Some of those guys have big league time, and most of them are top prospects, so I felt like it definitely helped me a lot in both part of my game.”

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Around the System - June 19

Triple-A: Columbus 2, Scranton 0

Brandon Laird: 2-for-4
Jordan Parraz: 2-for-3, 2B
Doug Bernier: 1-for-3
Carlos Silva: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO
Eric Wordekemper: 2 1/3 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO

Double-A: Trenton 10, Binghamton 8

Ray Kruml: 2-for-5, HR, 2 RBI
Corban Joseph: 1-for-4, 2 RBI
Cody Johnson: 3-for-4, 2B, 3B, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI
Jose Pirela: 3-for-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI
Jason Place: 2-for-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI, SB, outfield assist
Ryan Baker: 1-for-4, RBI, 2 R
Shaeffer Hall: 6 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 3 ER, BB, 6 SO

Low-A: Charleston 7, Hickory 4

Jose Toussen: 2-for-6, 2 R
Anderson Feliz: 1-for-3, 2B, 3 R, 3 BB
Ramon Flores: 2-for-5, 2B, 2 R, RBI
J.R. Murphy: 3-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI
Kelvin De Leon: 1-for-4, 2B
Rob Segedin: 2-for-4, 2B, 4 RBI
Zach Nuding: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO
Dan Burawa: 2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, SO
Nathan Forer: 2 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO

Short-Season: Brooklyn 5, Staten Island 3

Mason Williams: 3-for-5, R, RBI, 2 SB, outfield assist
Cito Culver: 0-for-5, 2 RBI, E
Rey Nunez: 1-for-4
Shane Brown: 2-for-4, R
Phil Hughes: 4.1 IP, 3 H, R, ER, BB, 7 SO

Dominican Summer League 2: Dodgers 6, Yankees 2

Jose Javier: 1-for-3, R, 2 BB
Allison Reyes: 1-for-5
Wilmer Romero: 2-for-4, RBI
Renzo Martini: 2-for-4, 2B
Miguel Mojica: 1-for-4, 2B, R
Rony Bautista: 5 IP, 4 HR, 2 R, ER, 3 BB, 3 SO

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Around the System - June 18

Triple-A: Scranton 4, Columbus 0

Austin Krum: 1-for-4, R
Greg Golson: 1-for-3, 2B, RBI
Jordan Parraz: 2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
Brandon Laird: 1-for-3
Jesus Montero: 1-for-4, R
Greg Smith: 7 IP, H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 SO
Andrew Brackman: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 3 SO

Double-A: Binghamton 7, Trenton 4

Ray Kruml:
1-for-4, R, outfield assist
Corban Joseph:
4-for-5, 2B, HR, RBI, 2 R
Cody Johnson: 2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI
DeAngelo Mack: 1-for-2, R, 2 BB
Kei Igawa: 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 3 SO

High-A: Florida State League All-Star Game

Rob Lyerly: 2-for-2, 2B, R

Low-A: Hickory 5, Charleston 3

Anderson Feliz: 2-for-5, R, SB
J.R. Murphy: 2-for-4, 2 2B, RBI, R
Rob Segedin: 1-for-4, RBI
Gary Sanchez: 3-for-4, 2B, RBI, SB
Mikey O'Brien: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, SO
Kramer Sneed: 4 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, SO

Short-Season: Staten Island 3, Brooklyn 2

Ben Gamel: 2-for-4, 2B, R
Rey Nunez: 2-for-4, R, RBI
Jhorge Liccien: 1-for-3, 2B, RBI
Robert Rinard: 1-for-3, RBI
Will Oliver: 4 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 SO
Phil Wetherell: IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO

Dominican Summer League 1: Nationals 4, Yankees 1

Jose Polanco: 1-for-3, R, BB
Yamiel Orozco: 2-for-3
Eladio Moronta: 0-for-3, BB
Cesar Vargas: 4 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Around the System - June 17

Triple-A: Columbus 6, Scranton 5

Kevin Russo: 2-for-4, 2 3B, RBI, 2 R
Greg Golson: 2-for-4, R, 3 RBI
Jesus Montero: 1-for-3, BB
Austin Krum: 1-for-4, R
Luis Nunez: 1-for-4, R
D.J. Mitchell: 4.1 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO
Kevin Whelan: IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO
George Kontos: 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO

Double-A: Binghamton 10, Trenton 4

Brad Suttle: 1-for-4, HR
Jose Gil: 1-for-4, HR
Jason Place: 1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI
Ray Kruml: 1-for-4
Manny Banuelos: 3 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO

Low-A: Hickory 10, Charleston 2

Anderson Feliz: 1-for-3, BB
Ramon Flores: 1-for-4
J.R. Murphy: 1-for-4
Rob Segedin: 3-for-4, HR
Kelvin De Leon: 1-for-4, HR
Tommy Kahnle: 2.1 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO
Nathan Forer: IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO

Short-Season: Brooklyn 5, Staten Island 3

Mason Williams: 2-for-4, 2B, HR
Angelo Gumbs: 1-for-4, R, RBI, 2 SB
Rey Nunez: 1-for-2, RBI, BB
Cito Culver: 0-for-4, BB
Robert Rinard: 1-for-3, R, BB
Bryan Mitchell: 2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO
Brett Gerritse: 2 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 BB, 4 SO

Dominican Summer League 1: Yankees 6, Tigers 3

Rafael Polo: 1-for-3, RBI, 2 BB
Fernando Perez: 1-for-3, 2 RBI, 2 BB
Eladio Moronta: 1-for-3, RBI, BB
Ericson Leonora: 1-for-2, R, 2 BB
Gian Arias: 1-for-3, 2 R, BB
Jose Polanco: 0-for-2, 2 R, RBI, BB, outfield assist (at first base!)
Gustavo Camilo: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 4 SO
Yoely Bello: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 4 SO

Dominican Summer League 2: Royals 6, Yankees 3

Jose Javier: 1-for-4, RBI, BB
Chris Tamarez: 1-for-5
Wilmer Romero: 1-for-3
Allison Reyes: 2-for-4, 2B, R
Miguel Mojica: 3-for-4, 2B, RBI

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Around the System - June 16

Triple-A: Columbus 8, Scranton 1

Greg Golson: 2-for-3
Jesus Montero: 1-for-3
Brandon Laird: 1-for-3, R
Jordan Parraz: 1-for-2, BB
Gustavo Molina: 0-for-2, SF
David Phelps: 4 IP, 4 H, R, ER, BB, 5 SO
Andrew Brackman: IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO

Double-A: Harrisburg 3, Trenton 2

Ray Kruml: 1-for-4, R, outfield assist
Brad Suttle: 1-for-4, 2B, RBI, R
Cody Johnson: 2-for-4, 2B, RBI
DeAngelo Mack: 2-for-3
Craig Heyer: 6 IP, 5 H, R, ER, 4 BB, 6 SO
Pat Venditte: 3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO

High-A: Tampa 3, Lakeland 1

Kelvin Castro: 1-for-4, RBI
Rob Lyerly: 1-for-4, 2B
Zoilo Almonte: 1-for-3, 2B
Kyle Higashioka: 1-for-2, 2B, R
Emerson Landoni: 1-for-3, R, 2 RBI
Jairo Heredia: 6 IP, 7 H, R, ER, 0 BB, 8 SO
Chase Whitley: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 0 SO
Ryan Flannery: IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO

Low-A: Hickory 5, Charleston 1

Jose Toussen: 1-for-3
Rob Segedin: 2-for-4
Gary Sanchez: 2-for-3, 2B, HR
Kelvin De Leon: 2-for-4
Nik Turley: 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 0 ER, BB, 5 SO
Dan Burawa: 3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, SO

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Postgame Notes - June 16

The Thunder lost to Harrisburg, 3-2, in the process falling to second in the Eastern League East, behind the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. As it stands, it looks like those two clubs will battle for the division's top spot all summer long.

This wasn't Pat Venditte's night. He allowed the go-ahead two-run double to Josh Johnson in the seventh, but was OK in the eighth and ninth innings. Recent success notwithstanding, Venditte was visibly upset with the way he performed.

Before Johnson hit the double, Venditte was called for a balk for not stepping toward first on a pickoff throw. Steve Lombardozzi followed with an infield single, and Johnson drove both men in a few pitches later.

Venditte said he wasn't particularly unnerved by the call against him, nor did he let it hinder his concentration.

"There was still already one out in the inning, and I knew if I could make a good pitch, make a couple of good pitches, I could get a couple of quick outs and maybe get out of the inning. I got ahead there on (Johnson), 0-1 fastball away, threw the same pitch again and he put a good swing on it to left field. It's just one of those nights where things didn't go my way and I didn't execute."

Even with a few hiccups of late, Venditte has been gangbusters since May 5, when his ERA was a ghastly 6.61. Since then, he's lowered that mark to 3.20, and he credits the success to a cut fastball from the right side.

"That was an awful start to the season. Luckily, Phelpsie stuck with me and was working with me every day in the bullpen. He showed a cutter to me, which I've been throwing a ton from the right side. That's helped me immensely to go out there and get right-on-right hitters out. It's been a big confidence-booster for me. I'm just very fortunate he stuck with me and he keeps going to me."

- Craig Heyer, despite a career high-tying four walks, permitted just one run. It came on Tyler Moore's RBI triple in the first, an inning in which he walked nobody. He wasn't terribly pleased with his stuff or his outing afterward, but was thankful that he escaped relatively unscathed after six innings.

"I just didn't command the ball too well today. My change-up wasn't there. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. ... Allowing five or six hits, plus four walks is over 10 baserunners a game, so to be able to get out of it, that's a positive."

- DeAngelo Mack had two hits tonight, and he's hitting .323/.475/.548 over his last 10 games. He's got a double, two longballs, six RBIs and six walks in that time.

- Cody Johnson also had two hits, one a double just inside the left-field line, and the other a bullet off of starting pitcher Tanner Roark that drove in the Thunder's second run.

- Brad Suttle's RBI double brought home Ray Kruml with Trenton's first run.

- Jose Pirela flashed excellent range in the seventh inning after Venditte's balk. He corralled Lombardozzi's grounder to short and had the presence of mind to fire behind Jonathan Tucker at second. The throw was in plenty of time to nab Tucker, but second baseman Corban Joseph flubbed the tag.

- Not only is Kei Igawa back with the Thunder, he's back in the starting rotation too. He'll take the ball on Saturday in Binghamton.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pregame Stuff - June 16

- Kei Igawa was returned from Scranton and is active this evening. Grant Duff, who had been struggling of late, was placed on the 7-Day Disabled List with a shoulder injury. That keeps the roster at 22 players.

That it wasn't the elbow, on which he had surgery late last season, is a surprise and a bit of a concern. If this is a new injury, it could mean real trouble for the tall righty. He was running in the stands before the game, so that's a good sign.

- Cody Johnson, after two days away with the flu, is back in the lineup.

- Talked to Jose Pirela (through professional interpreter Dellin Betances) before the game about the adjustments he's made to get on his recent hot streak. You should see something in Saturday's paper about what's led him to this point.

- After tonight, the Thunder's next six games are against Binghamton and Portland, which are a combined 42-83. Then they play New Britain, which is 34-29.

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Around the System - June 15

Double-A: Harrisburg 6, Trenton 1

Corban Joseph: 2-for-4, 2B, 3B
Jose Pirela: 1-for-3, R, BB
Jose Gil: 0-for-3, BB, SB
Dellin Betances: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, ER, 4 BB, 8 SO
Fernando Hernandez: 1 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO

High-A: Tampa 6, Lakeland 5

Abraham Almonte: 1-for-5, 2B, RBI
Walter Ibarra: 1-for-5, HR, 2 RBI
Zoilo Almonte: 3-for-4, 2B, HR, 2 R
Kevin Mahoney: 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, R
Luke Murton: 1-for-4, 2B, RBI
Brett Marshall: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 2 SO
Jose Quintana: 2 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO

Low-A: Greenville 5, Charleston 3

Jose Toussen: 3-for-5, SB, outfield assist
Ramon Flores: 1-for-4, 2B
J.R. Murphy: 1-for-3, BB
Rob Segedin: 1-for-4, HR
Gary Sanchez: 2-for-4, 2B, R
Jose Mojica: 1-for-4, 2B, R, RBI
Shane Greene: 6 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO
Kramer Sneed: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 3 SO

Dominican Summer League 1: Yankees 5, Phillies 2

Rafael Polo: 2-for-3, RBI, BB, 2 SB
Eladio Moronta: 1-for-3, 2B, R
Melvin Aquino: 1-for-4, HR
Gian Arias: 1-for-3, HR, 2 R, BB
Francisco Duran: 1-for-3, RBI, R, SB
Edison Mejia: 6 IP, 2 H, R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO
Dubeny Soto: 3 IP, H, R, ER, BB, 3 SO

Dominican Summer League 2: Yankees 8, Red Sox 7

Chris Tamarez: 1-for-7, RBI, R
Allison Reyes: 1-for-5, R, 2 BB
Sandy Brito: 0-for-4, R, 2 BB
Renzo Martini: 2-for-5, 2B, R, 3 RBI, BB
Wilmer Romero: 0-for-6
Miguel Mojica: 2-for-6, 2B, R
Felipe Gonzalez: 4 IP, 4 H, R, ER, 0 BB, 5 SO

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Kruml running free for the Thunder

TRENTON — Ray Kruml learned the golden rule of base stealing at a young age: just keep running.

Two-and-half-months into the season, Kruml is off to a flying a start on the basepaths. His 23 steals rank second in the Eastern League and are a big reason the Thunder’s 69 swipes are also second in the league.

“It’s one of the parts of my game that I’ve worked on for a while,” said Kruml, whose .274 average out of the leadoff spot has also given the Thunder a nice boost. “I’ve always been that type of player to get on base and then steal bases. If I can get a high percentage of base stealing to caught stealing ratio, I’m going to be able to do a lot of things.”

So far, so good for the 25-year-old center fielder in his minor league career. He’s only 76.6 percent this season (23-for-30) but he stole 42 bases (50 attempts) between Class A Charleston and Tampa last season and has an 80.8 percent success rate (101-for-125) since the Yankees selected him in the 11th round of the 2008 draft.

That’s all part of the just-run mentality.

“He makes his attempts every time he gets on base, and that’s what base-stealers do,” said Thunder manager Tony Franklin, who swiped 97 bags during his 10-year minor league career. “One thing you have to do as a base-stealer is you have to be daring. You have to have the willingness to go, no matter what. Even if you get thrown out two or three times in a row, you have to get back on the bases and go.”

Kruml’s done enough to earn the trust of his manager on the bases. He has the green light to go when the situation is right.

“I think (Franklin) trusts me to know the right situations to go and when to not go,” Kruml said. “I don’t think I’ve got in trouble yet, so I think I’m doing an all right job.”

Franklin thinks Kruml is similar to Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner in terms of his base running and doesn’t see why his skill wouldn’t translate to higher levels.

“There’s no reason why he can’t take that talent he possesses here and take it to the major league level,” Franklin said. “That ability he has there plays at the major league level.”

For now though, Kruml will just keep running.

“It’s tougher to pick stuff up (as you move up),” he said, “but I’m just going to keep going. That’s all I can do.”


Catcher Austin Romine was eligible to come off the disabled list yesterday but is not quite ready after suffering a concussion June 2 against Altoona.

Franklin said the organization is being cautious with Romine but he expects him back soon.

“Years ago when we played, if you felt well you played,” Franklin said. “We probably could have been concussed but we played. Now, I think doctors are a little bit more aware of what the possibilities are after collisions. If they deem a person to be concussed, it’s going to take some time.”

Romine is hitting .298 with four homers and 31 RBIs.


Designated hitter Cody Johnson was not in the lineup yesterday because of illness.

Johnson, whose 13 homers are third in the EL, has not missed a game since May 18.

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Around the System - June 14

Triple-A: Scranton 3, Syracuse 1

Kevin Russo: 1-for-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI, BB
Greg Golson: 1-for-4, RBI
Austin Krum: 3-for-4, 2B, 3B, R
Jesus Montero: 1-for-4
Adam Warren: 7 IP, 3 H, R, ER, 4 BB, SO
Greg Smith: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 2 SO
Josh Schmidt: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, SO

Double-A: Trenton 7, Harrisburg 3

DeAngelo Mack: 1-for-3, 2 R, BB
Corban Joseph: 1-for-5, RBI
Jose Pirela: 2-for-4, 2B, 2 R
Jason Place: 3-for-4, R, RBI
Addison Maruszak: 1-for-3, R, RBI, BB
Yadil Mujica: 2-for-3, 2B, R, 4 RBI, BB
Shaeffer Hall: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 SO
Naoya Okamoto: 1.2 IP, 0 H, R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 0 SO

High-A: Tampa 11, Lakeland 6

Abraham Almonte: 1-for-5, R
Walter Ibarra: 3-for-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI
Rob Lyerly: 2-for-4, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB
Zoilo Almonte: 3-for-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, BB
Kevin Mahoney: 2-for-5, 3B, RBI, R
Luke Murton: 2-for-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI
Scottie Allen: 4 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO
Preston Claiborne: 3 IP, 3 H, R, ER, BB, SO

Low-A: Greenville 9, Charleston 3

Jose Toussen: 2-for-4, SB
Ramon Flores: 0-for-3, BB, R, SB
J.R. Murphy: 1-for-4
Gary Sanchez: 1-for-4, RBI
Mike Ferraro: 2-for-4, 2B, R, RBI
Garrison Lassiter: 3-for-4, 2B, RBI
Zach Nuding: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 7 SO
Tommy Kahnle: 2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, BB, 2 SO

Dominican Summer League 1: Yankees 9, Mets 7

Rafael Polo: 2-for-4, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI
Ericson Leonora: 1-for-5, R, RBI
Elio De La Rosa: 2-for-5, RBI
Gian Arias: 0-for-1, 3 BB, SB
Yamiel Orozco: 2-for-4, 2 R, RBI
Jose Pena: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO

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Postgame Notes - June 14

When he looked at the box score after the game, even manager Tony Franklin couldn't believe his eyes -- Yadil Mujica's night was just that good. The Cuban defector -- who signed with the Yankees so late that he is not included in the team's media guide -- was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, a run and four big RBIs.

That the outburst came a game after an ill-advised bunt attempt (and a headlong slide into first, to boot) with two outs in the bottom of the 12th inning and the tying run on second base speaks a little to his character and a lot to his ability to rebound.

Unfortunately, because he speaks no English, and with hitting coach Julius Matos banished to Tampa for the foreseeable future, there is almost nobody on the team capable of acting as a translator for Mujica, or any of the Spanish-speakers in the clubhouse, for that matter.

Dellin Betances is the best candidate, but he was gone before the media were done speaking with Franklin.

The same problem exists for Japanese lefty Naoya Okamoto, who lost his interpreter when Kei Igawa was promoted to Scranton. Okamoto, for what it's worth, pitched another stellar inning and two-thirds last night, allowing just one unearned run.

Other quick notes:

- Shaeffer Hall rebounded from a rocky first couple of innings to throw six frames of two-run ball, though the four walks showed that he didn't have his best command.

- With Hall, Okamoto and Wilkins Arias, the Thunder used solely southpaws on Tuesday. Combined, the trio induced 14 groundouts against just four flyouts.

- Jason Place was 3-for-4 with a run scored, and two of his hits were infield singles.

- Jose Pirela had another pair of knocks, including a double. He's hitting .346/.393/.577 in June after hitting just .164 and .196 in April and May, respectively. He did, however, commit his 17th error of the season, this time on a relatively routine grounder.

- Corban Joseph is hitting .317/.404/.537 over his last 10 games. He has six doubles, a homer and seven RBIs. Perhaps more impressively, he's walked six times and fanned just five.

- Over his last 10 appearances, Arias has whiffed 17 and walked just three.

- The game itself lasted 2 hours and 48 minutes. There were, however, two rain delays of 60 and 28 minutes, respectively. During the hourlong wait, which came before the game started, almost no rain fell.

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