Blogs > Minor Matters

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

Saturday, August 20, 2011

After tonight, a murky road lies ahead for Marquez

TRENTON – While it wouldn’t have come close to topping this year’s list of marquee rehab starts, Jeff Marquez’s scheduled appearance last night did continue an interesting recent trend of long-forgotten alumni finding their way back to the capital city.

Instead, the game was postponed by torrential rain and lightning, and will be made up today as part of a doubleheader of two seven-inning games that will begin at 6:05 p.m.

Over the last four seasons, Marquez is the fifth player to re-enter the fold after spending significant time elsewhere in the sport. It’s not an illustrious list, but it includes outfielders Noah Hall and Justin Christian, as well as current Trenton relievers Kanekoa Texeira and Brad Halsey.

That’s to say nothing of Justin Pope, the Thunder’s coach who last pitched for the Thunder on Sept. 3, 2007 before returning to Waterfront when the team kicked off its home schedule on April 14.

When he finally toes the slab tonight, it marked the first time since Aug. 28, 2008 that Marquez has taken the mound at Waterfront Park in the regular season.

In the 1,087 days between appearances, Marquez has been traded to the White Sox in the package that brought Nick Swisher – as well as Texeira – to the Yankees, and pitched two seasons with Charlotte, Chicago’s Triple-A affiliate.

The Yankees claimed him on waivers on June 8, three days after he was cut by Chicago. He pitched four innings this season for New York before hitting the disabled list with shoulder inflammation.

“For them to keep an eye on me and notice that I’m on waivers,” Marquez said. “I felt like that was a good opportunity for me to come back. At the time, they needed pitching up there in the bullpen. That little time I was up there I felt like I did a pretty good job, and hopefully I’ll get back there.”

If he is to get back to the Bronx, it will have to happen before Tuesday, at which point he will fall into a sort of transactional limbo. Should the Yankees decide they don’t need his services, which, considering they’ve acquired Raul Valdes, Scott Proctor and Aaron Laffey in recent days, seems likely, then Marquez’s immediate future will become uncertain.

Because he’s out of minor league options, and has been since the season began, he’ll be placed on waivers, from which teams will have 72 hours to claim him and place him on their major league roster. If nobody claims him, he can choose to finish out the year in the minors with the Yankees, or shut it down and prepare for free agency.

For now, his travels have taken him back to Trenton, and considering the success he’s had here, that’s not such a bad thing.

“It feels good to be here to be around guys, to be around a team, rather than being down there in Tampa (in the Gulf Coast League),” he said. “I was here in ’07 and a little bit in ’08 when we won the championships back to back – lot of good memories here.”

NOTES: Marquez will start the first game of tonight’s twinbill, and will be followed by Graham Stoneburner. They’ll be opposed by Mike Ballard and Tim Bascom of Bowie. … Manager Tony Franklin said before the game that third baseman Brad Suttle was likely done for the season. … Reliever Wilkins Arias is on his way back from a brief stint in Scranton. To make room, Halsey will be placed on the 7-Day disabled list. … It is unclear who will replace Marquez in the rotation after this turn. Cory Arbiso, Josh Schmidt, Kei Igawa and Arias seem like likely candidates.

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