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

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Host of transactions kicks off the break for the Thunder

TRENTON – The day after the All-Star game is usually a big day for transactions, and yesterday was certainly no exception. Among other things, the Thunder welcomed back two members of their bullpen and said goodbye to an old friend.

The biggest – but sadly least surprising – news of the day was the release of reliever Alan Horne, who had spent the better part of the last four years fighting waves of injuries, the most recent being serious damage to his right rotator cuff.

Horne, the 2007 Eastern League Pitcher of the Year and a former first-round draft choice with the Angels, was simply ineffective in his brief return to the Eastern League, cobbling together an 0-2 record and a 12.79 ERA in 6 1/3 frames.

That, plus the fact that, at 28 years old, he was incapable of staying healthy, spelled the end of his tenure with the Yankees organization. Manager Tony Franklin told him the news a few hours before yesterday’s game and, as always, it was a bitter pill to deliver.

“It wasn’t pleasant, because about four years ago he was the Pitcher of the Year in this league,” Franklin said. “Unfortunately he had an arm injury that set him back, and who knows how you’re going to recover from that. He seems to have recovered from the arm injury but just wasn’t pitching well at this time.”

In his place, the Thunder received Josh Schmidt, back for his second tour of duty with Trenton this season. The curve-slinging corner-painting right-hander is the franchise’s all-time leader in appearances, and has pitched 15 times in Double-A this season.

He was 2-2 with a 1.59 ERA in 22 2/3 innings before being bumped back to Scranton on June 10. Overall, he’s 5-4 with a 2.16 ERA and 51 strikeouts against 19 walks between the levels.

Outfielder DeAngelo Mack was also placed on the disabled list yesterday with an injury to the base of his left hand which has caused him enough pain to believe that surgery may be an option in the near future.

So far, Mack’s only been looked at by trainer by Tim Lentych, but a trip to the doctor and the X-Ray machine is upcoming.

The pain started during the last road swing, and it eventually got to the point where he was struggling with everyday tasks like opening a bottle or holding a baseball bat.

“It’s a little sore right now, it’s pretty sore,” he said before the game. “Whenever the doctor gets here he’s going to check it out and kind of see what’s going on and maybe go for an X-Ray or a CT scan (Friday).”

Ryan Pope, a starter-turned-closer with Trenton last season, rejoined the team during the final road trip before the All-Star break, but didn’t get back to Waterfront Park until yesterday.

Shoulder inflammation kept the right-hander on the shelf to start the season, and when he finally returned he found himself caught in a mix of relievers at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, which has led to reduced time all season.

He had tried to pitch through the pain, but finally reached a breaking point before the season began.

“I feel like I’m healthy. You try to push through some things here and there to get to the big leagues – that’s just the way baseball is,” he admitted. “It gets to a point sometimes where you just can’t push through it anymore.”

He made his first appearance of the season – a rehab outing with Tampa – on April 23 before being bumped to Scranton on May 2. He got into his first game with Trenton on July 7, marking the first time he had pitched in three weeks.

Utilityman Addison Maruszak was returned to Trenton yesterday, catcher Austin Romine was activated from the Temporary Inactive List, and catcher Ryan Baker was placed on the Disabled List to complete the day’s paperwork.

NOTES: Graham Stoneburner, who hasn’t pitched since April, was activated from the team’s DL and assigned to High-A Tampa, where he started last night’s game. He also made four appearances in the Gulf Coast League on the rehab trail. … Phillies broadcaster was inducted into the Trenton Baseball Hall of Fame last night, joining former Thunder manager DeMarlo Hale as this year’s inductees. The team’s broadcast booth was dedicated in honor of McCarthy, who was the Trenton’s first play-by-play man.

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