Blogs > Minor Matters

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

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Some notes about Manny's mechanics and the mental side of Venditte's early-season struggles

After eight games on the road, there's obviously going to be a fair amount of ground to cover in the clubhouse. Today is no exception. Here's what various members of the Thunder had to say:

Pitching coach Tommy Phelps, on Manny Banuelos' mechanics, and how they've affected his control this season:

"He's just getting late with his separation and his rhythm's off. (We're) just trying to get his tempo a little quicker and get some rhythm in his delivery so he can be more natural and be like he used to be. Sometimes he gets real slow and deliberate, and it gets too mechanical and he can't let his natural ability take over."

On whether the problems mechanically are causing his command issues this season:

"I think so. ... Even last year, he didn't command the ball really well. He threw a lot of strikes, but there's a difference between commanding and throwing strikes. He's starting to get really good to the glove side of the plate, which is good for a pitcher. His arm side's getting better; a lot of times his ball will run off the plate, but he's getting better at commanding the fastball."

Phelps, on Pat Venditte's mental struggles and how a pitching coach deals with that side of the game:

"That's a part you deal with. It's not just mechanics, curveball, fastball; there's a lot of mental aspects that are a part of it. I think it's just him getting comfortable and realizing his stuff is good enough here to get hitters out, as it was at every other level."

"You support him and you give him positive feedback. Keep pushing him in the right direction, and when he starts having success, the confidence naturally comes right after that. It's just a matter of him getting out there and getting the opportunities and doing it over and over again. He's going to have success with his stuff, and he's a great competitor."

"Even when he was a struggling he was a hard worker. Now that he's having success, he's working hard or harder. His focus and his determination is second to none and he comes to work to get prepared every day to get himself better, and it shows in the way he's pitching."

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Shaeffer Hall is your Eastern League Pitcher of the Week

(Trenton, NJ) – The Trenton Thunder announced today that LHP Shaeffer Hall has been named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week for the week ending May 30.

23-year old Shaeffer Hall started two games for the Thunder last week and had a record of 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA in 13.0 innings pitched. He made his first appearance of the week on Tuesday night at Reading and surrendered just five hits while striking out four batters in six shutout innings of work to earn the win as Trenton downed the R-Phils 5-2. In his second appearance of the week on Sunday afternoon at Portland the 6’1”, 205 lb. hurler gave up two runs, one earned, while scattering eight hits and striking out four batters over seven innings to lead Trenton to a 5-2 victory. Hall, who is a native of Independence, Missouri, has a record of 4-3 with a 3.30 ERA for the Thunder this season. He is currently tied for the league lead in games started (10) and is ranked fourth in the league in innings pitched (60.0).

Hall, who combined for a record of 11-7 with a 2.89 ERA between the Charleston RiverDogs and the Tampa Yankees last season, was selected by the New York Yankees in the 25th round of the 2008 draft after posting a record of 5-6 with 65 strikeouts and a 4.18 ERA in 92.2 innings pitched during his junior season at Kansas University.

This is the first time this season that a Thunder player has earned a weekly honor. Four players were recognized last season with an Eastern League Weekly Award.

Around the System - May 30

Triple-A: Indianapolis 8, Scranton 5

Austin Krum: 1-for-5, RBI, R
Jesus Montero: 2-for-4, RBI
Brandon Laird: 2-for-4, 2B, R
Kevin Russo: 2-for-4, 2B, R
Dan Brewer: 2-for-4, R
Adam Warren: 6 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO - 92 pitches/53 strikes, 5 groundouts/6 flyouts

Double-A: Trenton 6, Portland 4

Ray Kruml: 1-for-5, R
Corban Joseph: 3-for-5, R
Austin Romine: 3-for-5, 2B, R, RBI
Brad Suttle: 0-for-3, 2 BB, R
Cody Johnson: 2-for-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI
Jose Gil: 1-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB
Jose Pirela: 2-for-3
Dellin Betances: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, BB, 6 SO -95 pitches/55 strikes, 5 groundouts/2 flyouts

High-A: Savannah 3, Charleston 1

Slade Heathcott: 1-for-3, BB
Jose Toussen: 2-for-3, BB
Ramon Flores: 1-for-4
Eduardo Sosa: 1-for-3, BB
Jeff Farnham: 1-for-3, HR
Shane Greene: 4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, ER, 3 BB, 4 SO
Kramer Sneed: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO
Manny Barreda: IP, H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 SO

Dominican Summer League 1: Yankees 5, Phillies 4

Eladio Moronta: 2-for-3, 2B, 2 R, 2 BB, SB
Ericson Leonora: 2-for-4, 2B, R, RBI, SB
Elio De La Rosa: 1-for-2, R, RBI, 2 BB
Gian Arias: 1-for-3, RBI, BB, SB
Angel Rincon: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO -- 6 groundouts/3 flyouts

Dominican Summer League 2: Yankees 3, Royals 1

Daniel Lopez: 2-for-3, R, 3 SB
Chris Tamarez: 1-for-4, 2B, R, RBI
Wilmer Romero: 1-for-3, 2B, RBI, BB
Sandy Brito: 2-for-4
Rainiero Coa: 2-for-4, 2B
Juan Matos: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO -- 7 groundouts/1 flyout

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Thunder finish road trip 7-1

(Portland, ME) - The Trenton Thunder (31-19) came from behind to win for the third time in four games, beating the Portland Sea Dogs (14-33) 6-4 on a Memorial Day matinee at Hadlock Field. Cody Johnson drove in three runs on a solo homerun and a double to cap a 7-1 roadtrip for the Thunder.

Trailing 3-0 in the top of the fourth, Johnson would once again provide an offensive boost to his Thunder team, smacking a solo homerun off of Sea Dog starter Alex Wilson into the U.S. Cellular Pavilion in right field to get the Thunder on the board, 3-1. It was Johnson's third longball of the series, his fourth of the roadtrip and ninth on the season.

After Austin Romine knocked-in a run on a two-out single in the fifth, the pesky Thunder bats were back at it in the top of the seventh, looking to take their first lead of the game. Trenton would look to Johnson, and the former first-round pick would deliver again. With one out and the bases loaded, Johnson doubled on a fly ball off the right field wall to score two and give Trenton 4-3 lead. Jose Gil followed with a two-run double of his own, this one off of the Maine Monster in left field, to pad the Thunder lead to 6-3.

Trenton would hold on to win 6-4 to cap seven wins in eight contests on the road swing that began last Tuesday in Reading. The Thunder improved to 21-7 in the month of, just two wins shy of the franchise record with one game left.

The Thunder will return home to Waterfront Park Tuesday at 7:05 PM to begin a three-game series with the defending Eastern League champions, the Altoona Curve (Pittsburgh Pirates). Trenton will send RHP Craig Heyer (4-2, 2.74) to the Waterfront Park mound. Altoona will counter with RHP Aaron Pribanic (4-2, 2.60). Tune-in to the game on 91.3 WTSR-FM and on The SBLI Pre-Game Show with Jay Burnham and Hank Fuerst begins at 6:45 PM.

Around the System - May 29

Triple-A: Scranton 8, Louisville 4

Austin Krum: 1-for-4, R, BB
Ramiro Pena: 3-for-5, 2B, R, RBI
Jesus Montero: 1-for-5, R, RBI
Jorge Vazquez: 1-for-4, R
Justin Maxwell: 1-for-2, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB
Brandon Laird: 1-for-4, 2B, RBI, R
Doug Bernier: 1-for-4, RBI, R, SB
David Phelps: 8 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO

Double-A: Trenton 5, Portland 2

Corban Joseph: 1-for-4, R
Austin Romine: 1-for-4, R, RBI
Brad Suttle: 2-for-4, 3B, 2 RBI, R
Cody Johnson: 1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI
Deangelo Mack: 1-for-3 -- first Double-A hit
Jose Gil: 2-for-3, 2B
Addison Maruszak: 2-for-4, R
Shaeffer Hall: 7 IP, 8 H, 2 R, ER, 0 BB, 4 SO
Tim Norton: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO

High-A: Tampa 5, Charlotte 3

Abraham Almonte: 1-for-5
Rob Lyerly: 2-for-5, 2B
Zoilo Almonte: 1-for-4, R
Luke Murton: 2-for-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI
Emerson Landoni: 1-for-3, 2B, R
Brett Marshall: 7 IP, 6 H, R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO

Low-A: Savannah 4, Charleston 3

Slade Heathcott: 1-for-4, BB
J.R. Murphy: 2-for-4, 2 2B, R
Kyle Roller: 1-for-4, 2B, R
Rob Segedin: 2-for-4, 2 RBI, SB
Jose Toussen: 3-for-4, R
Zach Nuding: 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 10 SO

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Romine, Johnson, Suttle lead late Thunder charge

(Portland, ME) – The Trenton Thunder (30-19) scored five runs in the seventh and eighth innings to come from behind to beat the Portland Sea Dogs (13-33) 5-2 Sunday in front of a sellout crowd at Hadlock Field. Cody Johnson hit his second two-run homerun in as many days, and Shaeffer Hall only surrendered one earned run in seven innings to grab his fourth win of 2011. The win clinches the series for Trenton, who have now won eight of nine series.

Trailing 2-0 for most of the game, the Thunder bats woke up in the top of the seventh thanks to Cody Johnson. With Bradley Suttle at second base and two outs, Johnson lined an 0-2 pitch from Cesar Cabral over the centerfield wall to tie the score 2-2.

Looking to take their first lead of the ballgame in the top of the eighth, the Thunder got singles from Addison Maruszak and Corban Joseph to put men and first and third with two outs. Thunder catcher Austin Romine then grounded a single up the middle to score Maruszak, and Trenton took its first lead of the game, 3-2. One pitch later, Bradley Suttle tripled to deep centerfield to clear the bases and give the Thunder a 5-2 advantage.

Thunder starter Shaeffer Hall then handed the ball to Tim Norton who retired six straight Sea Dogs to end the game to pick up his fourth save of the season.

Sublett to DL, Okamoto activated (PR)

(Portland, ME) - The Trenton Thunder, Double-A Affiliate of the New York Yankees, announce that OF Damon Sublett has been placed on the 7-Day Disabled List. In a corresponding move, LHP Naoya Okamoto has been activated from the 7-Day Disabled List. The transactions keep Trenton's 24-man active roster at its capacity.
Okamoto, a native of Yokohama, Japan, is 1-0 with a 3.72 ERA in ten appearances for the Thunder this year. The 2011 season marks Okamoto's first in affiliated baseball in the United States. The lefty was signed by the Yankees as a Minor League free agent on August 20, 2010.
The Thunder are back in action Sunday at 1:00 PM as they continue their four-day, five-game Memorial Day weekend series with the Portland Sea Dogs at Hadlock Field in Maine. Trenton will send LHP Shaeffer Hall (3-3, 3.57) to mound Sunday. Hall will oppose Portland's RHP Michael Lee (1-4, 4.89). Tune-in to the game on 91.3 WTSR-FM and on The SBLI Pre-Game Show with Hank Fuerst begins at 12:45 PM

Around the System - May 28 (with DSL)

Triple-A: Louisville 4, Scranton 3

Andrew Brackman: 4 1/3 IP, H, 2 R, 2 ER, 6 BB, 8 SO
Ryan Pope: 1 2/3 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, SO
Kanekoa Texeira: 1 /3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO
Austin Krum: 1-for-3, 3B, R, 2 BB
Ramiro Pena: 2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI
Jesus Montero: 1-for-4
Justin Maxwell: 2-for-4, HR, outfield assist

Double-A: Trenton 8, Portland 7 - Game 1

Ray Kruml: 2-for-5, R
Corban Joseph: 2-for-4, 2 2B, R, 2 RBI
Austin Romine: 2-for-2, R, 2 RBI, 2 BB
Cody Johnson: 1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI
Jose Pirela: 1-for-4, 3B, R
Addison Maruszak: 3-for-3, SF, RBI, R
Yadil Mujica: 2-for-3, 2 R

Double-A: Portland 7, Trenton 5 - Game 2

Brad Suttle: 1-for-3, 2 R, BB
Cody Johnson: 1-for-4, 2B, 2 R
Jose Gil: 2-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI, R, BB
Addison Maruszak: 1-for-4, RBI
Jose Pirela: 1-for-3, RBI
Deangelo Mack: 0-for-3 -- Double-A debut
Pat Venditte: 4 1/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO -- hasn't allowed a run since May 5 (18 innings)

High-A: Tampa 4, Charlotte 2

Abraham Almonte: 2-for-4, 2 R
Walter Ibarra: 0-for-2, R, 2 BB
Zoilo Almonte: 2-for-4, 3B, 4 RBI
Scottie Allen: 6 1/3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, ER, 3 BB, 4 SO
Chase Whitley: 1 2/3 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 2 SO
Ryan Flannery: IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, SO

Low-A: Charleston 6, Hickory 3

Slade Heathcott: 0-for-4, RBI, BB
Rob Segedin: 2-for-4, R, SB
Kyle Roller: 1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI
Eduardo Sosa: 1-for-2, 2 R, 2 BB, outfield assist
Francisco Arcia: 1-for-2, 2B, R, RBI, 2 BB
Jose Mojica: 3-for-4, 2 2B, RBI, R, SB
Mikey O'Brien: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 3 SO
Kelvin Perez: IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, SO

Dominican Summer League 1: Yankees 6, Mets 3

Elio De La Rosa: 1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI
Ericson Leonora: 1-for-3, HR, 2 R, BB
Gian Arias: 1-for-3, HR
Eduardo Rivera: 2 IP, H, R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO
Edison Mejia: 3 2/3 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 4 SO
Juan Heredia: 1 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 SO

Dominican Summer League 2: Red Sox 11, Yankees 2

Daniel Lopez: 1-for-4
Wilmer Romero: 3-for-4, 3B, R
Christopher Tamarez: 0-for-3, BB
Sandy Brito: 1-for-2, 2B, 2 RBI
Allison Reyes: 0-for-3, BB, R, SB
Yunior Peroza: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, 4 SO

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Thunder take game one, fall in nightcap in doubleheader with Sea Dogs

PORTLAND, Me. – The Thunder’s win streak came to a close yesterday, but not before they took one of two from the Portland Sea Dogs in a double-header at Hadlock Field.

Cory Arbiso allowed seven runs in 1 2/3 innings in the nightcap, which all but sealed a 7-5 loss for Trenton. Pat Venditte held the Dogs scoreless for the final 4 1/3, but the damage was long done.

With the outing, the switch-pitching Venditte ran his scoreless string to 19 innings in a row.

Jose Gil led the way for the offense, carding a 2-for-3 effort with a double and two RBIs.

Outfielder Deangelo Mack went 0-for-3 in his Double-A debut, batting out of the eighth spot in the lineup. Mack was summoned from Tampa yesterday to replace Melky Mesa, who went on the shelf today with a stiff back. The injury is not considered serious.

Trenton’s offense led the comeback charge in the early game, using a season-high 15 hits to come back and win 8-7 after starter Kei Igawa surrendered three first-inning runs.

Corban Joseph stroked two doubles and drove in two runs, and Cody Johnson socked his seventh longball of the season in an eight-run stretch over the third, fourth and fifth innings.

The Thunder got four runs in the fifth, all with two outs, on consecutive knocks from Yadil Mujica, Ray Kruml, Joseph, and a final RBI rip from Austin Romine.

The series continues this afternoon when Shaeffer Hall takes the hill against Portland’s Michael Lee.

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Around the System - May 27

Triple-A: Scranton 6, Louisville 4

Jorge Vazquez: 2-for-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI
Jesus Montero: 1-for-4, 2B, R, BB
Kevin Russo: 2-for-3, R, 2 RBI
Justin Maxwell: 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, SB
Dan Brewer: 1-for-4, 2B, RBI
D.J. Mitchell: 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, 3 SO

Double-A: Trenton 4, Portland 2

Austin Romine: 2-for-4, 2B, RBI
Brad Suttle: 1-for-3, 2B
Jose Pirela: 1-for-2, 2 R, BB
Damon Sublett: 2-for-3, 3B, R, RBI
Manny Banuelos: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO

High-A: Charlotte 7, Tampa 3

Taylor Grote: 2-for-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI, R
Zoilo Almonte: 1-for-4, 2B, R
Kevin Mahoney: 1-for-4, 2B
Rob Lyerly: 1-for-4, RBI
Josh Romanski: 4 2/3 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 SO
Preston Claiborne: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 SO

Low-A: Charleston 6, Hickory 3

Slade Heathcott: 1-for-5, 3B, R
Anderson Feliz: 1-for-4, 2 R, 2 SB
Kyle Roller: 2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, SB
Francisco Arcia: 2-for-4, RBI
Jose Ramirez: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO
Tommy Kahnle: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 SO

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Fog Monster helps Thunder stop Dogs

WP: Manny Banuelos (2-0, 2.16)
LP: Stolmy Pimentel (0-7, 7.04)
SV: Grant Duff (1)
T: 2:17 (:30 delay)
ATT: 4,512

(Portland, ME) – The Trenton Thunder (28-18) used timely hitting, good pitching and a little help from Mother Nature to win their eighth straight game, a fog-shortened 4-2 victory over the Portland Sea Dogs (13-31) Friday night in Portland, Maine. Damon Sublett and Austin Romine both drove in runs for Trenton before the game was called in the bottom of the seventh due to thick fog rolling through Hadlock Field.

Looking to get some early runs for their starting pitcher Manny Banuelos, the Thunder would strike in the top of the second. With Jose Pirela at second base, Damon Sublett lined a triple over the head of Sea Dog centerfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker, scoring Pirela to give the Thunder a 1-0 lead. Sublett scored a batter later on a Stolmy Pimentel wild pitch, giving Trenton the 2-0 advantage.

In a 3-2 ballgame in the top of the seventh, the Thunder found themselves in need of some insurance runs. With two outs and Ray Kruml at second, Austin Romine roped a double to right-centerfield to score Kruml and give the Thunder a 4-2 lead.

That 4-2 tally would end up being the final score as the fog that had been rolling through Hadlock Field since the fifth inning thickened to the point that the two teams could not continue the contest. The game was delayed thirty minutes before it was eventually called due to the fog.

Manny Banuelos notched his second win of the season for the Thunder as he hurled five innings and gave up just two runs. Grant Duff, who was in the midst of his second inning of relief when the game was called, was rewarded the save.

The Thunder continue their four-day, five-game Memorial Day weekend series with the Portland Sea Dogs at Hadlock Field Saturday at 1:00 PM for the first game of a doubleheader (two seven inning games). Trenton’s LHP Kei Igawa (2-1, 2.79) will face Portland’s RHP Stephen Fife (5-2, 2.41) in game one. Game two will see the Thunder’s RHP Cory Arbiso (3-1, 4.03) oppose the Sea Dog’s RHP Jeremy Kehrt (0-0, 4.03)

Songs In The Key of (Bullpen) Life

In the "random things I was thinking about while on the elliptical machine" department, the other day I decided to assign theme songs to each member of the Thunder's bullpen. These songs, based almost solely on their titles, best describe the relievers and their roles.

For example, if I were to give Mariano Rivera a theme song, it would be Queen's "Waiting for the Hammer to Fall," and not his traditional "Enter Sandman." It's sacrilegious to mess with Rivera, I know, but work with me.

So, without further blather, here's what I thought up for each Trenton reliever, alphabetically.

CORY ARBISO -- The Trammps "Rubber Band"

Why I chose it: Arbiso's role, like a rubber band, is elastic. He can start, he can be a long reliever, he can go one inning, or he can come in to get just one man. This tune also would work for Kei Igawa or Josh Schmidt, but I've got better ideas for them.

WILKINS ARIAS -- Jay-Z "30 Something"

Why I chose it: The man is 30 years old, and has pitched with the Thunder since 2008. Despite that, though, he's still pretty effective. Also, given the wanton sketchiness for Dominican birthdays, I figured 30 something was rather appropriate.

GRANT DUFF -- Jerry Butler "Mechanical Man"

Why I chose it: When he told me the other day that he had screw inserted in his right elbow over the offseason to help repair a stress fracture, I immediately thought of this song. Granted, "Mechanical Man," in Butler's context, means an entirely different thing, but the song is too darn funky to pass on.

FERNANDO HERNANDEZ -- Lamont Dozier "Put Out My Fire"

Why I chose it: Hernandez is the closer, so putting out fires is more or less his job. I could have gone with Lil Wayne's "Fireman," but I hate Lil' Wayne, so you get Lamont Dozier.

KEI IGAWA -- 50 Cent " I Get Money"

Why I chose it: I mean, this is pretty obvious. He's in the final year of a contract that wound up paying him -- bonus included -- $48 million. The man's got some scrilla. Nuff said.


Why I Chose It: Because I haven't seen him pitch yet, I'm going to go with a pun on his name. He came into the mix a little late, what can I say?

TIM NORTON -- 50 Cent "Heat"

Why I chose it: Norton brings it up to 95 pretty consistently, so "heat" is indeed what he brings. I thought this was a bit of a slam dunk.

NAOYA OKAMOTO -- The D.O.C. "It's Funky Enough"

Why I chose it: Like most Japanese pitchers, Okamoto's delivery contains quite a bit of funk. Also, The D.O.C. (who did a good portion of the writing for N.W.A, Eazy-E and Dr. Dre) is awesome.

JOSH SCHMIDT -- Brand Nubian "Slow Down"

Why I chose it: When Schmidt relieves a kid like Dellin Betances or Manny Banuelos, the opponent is in for a bit of a culture shock. They will go from a mid-90s fastball to Schmidt's mid-80s heater and mid-60s curveball. That's almost not fair.

PAT VENDITTE -- Eric Clapton "Double Trouble"

Why I chose it: I also think this is fairly obvious. He throws with both hands, and he's been pretty spectacular lately. Hence, double trouble.

Around the System - May 26

Triple-A: Scranton 5, Louisville 0

Justin Maxwell: 2-for-4, 2B, 3 R, RBI
Brandon Laird: 2-for-5, 2B, RBI
Kevin Russo: 2-for-5, 2 RBI, SB
Dan Brewer: 3-for-4, R, SB
Jesus Montero: 1-for-5
Gustavo Molina: 1-for-4, 2B, RBI
Carlos Silva: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 SO

Double-A: Trenton 3, Reading 1

Jose Pirela: 2-for-5, 2B, HR, 2 R
Brad Suttle: 2-for-5, 2 3B, RBI
Melky Mesa: 1-for-3, R, SB
Damon Sublett: 1-for-3, BB
Yadil Mujica: 0-for-3, BB, RBI
Craig Heyer: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 0 SO
Pat Venditte: 2 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, SO

High-A: Tampa 12, Charlotte 2

Abraham Almonte: 0-for-3, BB, 2 R
Walter Ibarra: 1-for-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI
Rob Lyerly: 4-for-5, 2 2B, 3 R, 3 RBI, SB
Luke Murton: 2-for-5, 2B, R, 2 RBI
Kevin Mahoney: 3-for-5, 2 2B, R, 3 RBI
Mitch Abeita: 1-for-4, 2 RBI, BB
Deangelo Mack: 1-for-5, 2B, R
Taylor Grote: 1-for-3, RBI, 2 BB, SB
Sean Black: 5 IP, 4 H, R, ER, 0 BB, 3 SO
Chase Whitley: 2 IP, 2 H, R, ER, 0 BB, 0 SO

Low-A: Hickory 6, Charleston 4

Slade Heathcott: 1-for-5, SB
Anderson Feliz: 1-for-5, 2B, R
J.R. Murphy: 2-for-4, 2B, 2 R, BB, SB
Rob Segedin: 1-for-3, R, 2 RBI, SB
Ramon Flores: 2-for-2, RBI, 2 BB, SB
Nik Turley: 6 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 S)

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Around the System - May 22

Triple-A: Indianapolis 5, Scranton 4

Ramiro Pena: 2-for-3, 2B, 2 R
Jesus Montero: 1-for-4
Justin Maxwell: 1-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI, SB
Kevin Russo: 2-for-4, 3B, RBI, SB
Gustavo Molina: 2-for-4, RBI
Andrew Brackman: 6 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO

Double-A: Trenton 6, Portland 1

Ray Kruml: 1-for-3, 2 R, BB, SB
Corban Joseph: 2-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI, R, SF
Brad Suttle: 1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI
Cody Johnson: 1-for-4, 2B
Manny Banuelos: 4 2/3 IP, 2 H, R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 7 SO
Pat Venditte: 2 2/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 SO

High-A: Fort Myers 6, Tampa 3

Rob Lyerly: 1-for-3, BB
Neil Medchill: 1-for-3, BB
Mitch Abeita: 1-for-3, R, 2B
Deangelo Mack: 2-for-4, R
Kelvin Castro: 1-for-4, 3B, 2 RBI, R
Josh Romanski: 6 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 3 ER, BB, 2 SO

Low-A: Augusta 5, Charleston 2

Anderson Feliz: 1-for-4, 3B
Kyle Roller: 1-for-3, 2B, BB
Rob Segedin: 1-for-2, 2 R, BB
Kelvin De Leon: 1-for-4, 2B, RBI
Mikey O'Brien: 5 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Video of seven Manny Banuelos strikeouts, Melky Mesa's fantastic catch and Brad Suttle's homer

Brad Suttle's Home Run

Melky Mesa's fantastic catch

Banuelos strikeout No. 1

Banuelos strikeout No. 2

Banuelos strikeout No. 3

Banuelos strikeout No. 4

Banuelos strikeout No. 5

Banuelos strikeout No. 6

Banuelos strikeout No. 7

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Videos of Brad Suttle and Tim Norton

Around the System - May 21

Triple-A: Indianapolis 5, Scranton 3

Austin Krum: 1-for-5, R, outfield assist
Jesus Montero: 1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, BB
Brandon Laird: 2-for-4, RBI
Dan Brewer: 1-for-4
D.J. Mitchell: 6 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, BB, SO

Double-A: Trenton 4, Portland 3

Ray Kruml: 2-for-5
Corban Joseph: 0-for-3, 2 BB
Austin Romine: 2-for-4, HR, BB
Brad Suttle: 2-for-4, RBI, BB
Addison Maruszak: 1-for-3, 2B, R, BB
Jose Gil: 2-for-4, 2B, HR
Addison Maruszak: 1-for-3, 2B, R, BB
Naoya Okamoto: 2 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 3 SO
Tim Norton: 1 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R 0 BB, 2 SO

High-A: St. Lucie 12, Tampa 7

Walter Ibarra: 2-for-5, R
Rob Lyerly: 2-for-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
Neil Medchill: 1-for-4, 2 R, BB
Mitch Abeita: 3-for-3, RBI, BB
Kevin Mahoney: 1-for-3, RBI
Kelvin Castro: 1-for-4, RBI
Deangelo Mack: 2-for-3, HR
Preston Claiborne: 2 1/3 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, SO
Chase Whitley: 1 2/3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, ER, 0 BB, SO

Low-A: Augusta 3, Charleston 1

Slade Heathcott: 2-for-5, BB, outfield assist
J.R. Murphy: 2-for-5, 2 2B
Kyle Roller: 1-for-3, 2B, R
Kelvin De Leon: 1-for-4, BB
Eduardo Sosa: 3-for-5, RBI, SB
Jose Ramirez: 6 IP, 4 H, R, ER, 3 BB, 5 SO
Dan Burawa: 2 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 3 SO

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Austin Krum promoted to Scranton

TRENTON – As was the case with Justin Christian toward the end of last season, the Thunder have lost their leadoff man to Scranton. And just as it did with Christian, the loss is going to have a big effect on the offense.

In his second full season with Trenton, Krum was thriving, playing stellar defense in left field and was providing the team with a consistent and needed spark at the of the lineup.

“He played very well. He did a nice job for us,” manager Tony Franklin said. “His average and all that stuff doesn’t indicate the most productive of seasons, but the guy has made some very good strides with just his batting technique. … He has a chance to do some very good things in this game.”

To Franklin, the batting eye and the walks that it produced were what helped set Krum apart.

Before he departed, the 25-year-old drew 25 walks and stole 14 bases – both marks are good for second in the organization, behind Charleston’s Ramon Flores and teammate Ray Kruml, respectively – and a .242/.348/.293 slash line.

“I think he’s the victim sometimes of umpires’ poor ball-strike calls,” the manager said, suggesting that, were the umpires more consistent, Krum could have drawn even more free passes. “I think he’s got a better eye than the umpires. He’ll swing at some bad pitches up in the zone, but for the most part, he’s got a pretty good eye.”

The move gives Scranton some depth while Jordan Parraz and Greg Golson are on the disabled list.

To adjust to his absence, at least for last night’s game, Kruml was moved into the leadoff hole and Addison Maruszak was plugged into the ninth spot. Cody Johnson took Krum’s spot in the outfield.

The Maruszak move is interesting, because despite his .230 average and a .345 slugging percentage, the first baseman and occasional catcher boasts a .360 on-base percentage, best on the team among regulars. His 22 bases on balls were second only to Krum.

“Getting that type of on-base percentage from the bottom of the lineup heading to the top, that kind of helps us there,” Franklin said.

NOTES: Franklin went home sick again before yesterday’s game, this time with flu-like symptoms.

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Around the System - May 20

Triple-A: Lehigh Valley 6, Scranton 5

Kevin Russo: 1-for-5, 2B, R, RBI
Jesus Montero: 1-for-4, 2B, 3 RBI, PB
Jorge Vazquez: 1-for-4
Brandon Laird: 1-for-4, R
Ramiro Pena: 2-for-4, RBI, R, SB
Carlos Silva: 5 1/3 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO
Kevin Whelan: IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, SO

Double-A: Trenton 3, Portland 1

Austin Krum: 0-for-4, R
Corban Joseph: 2-for-3, 3B, R, BB
Ray Kruml: 1-for-3
Addison Maruszak: 1-for-3, 2B, BB, R
Dellin Betances: 5 IP, 3 H, R, ER, 4 BB, 5 SO

High-A: Tampa 5, St. Lucie 4

Abraham Almonte: 1-for-3, R
Walter Ibarra: 3-for-6, 2B, 3 RBI
Rob Lyerly: 2-for-5, 2 RBI
Luke Murton: 1-for-2, 2 BB
DeAngelo Mack: 4-for-5, 2B
Jairo Heredia: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, BB, 6 SO

Low-A: Charleston 4, Augusta 2

Slade Heathcott: 3-for-4, 2 R, SB
Anderson Feliz: 1-for-4
Ramon Flores: 1-for-3, RBI, BB
J.R. Murphy: 1-for-4, 2B, RBI
Kyle Roller: 1-for-4
Gary Sanchez: 1-for-3, BB
Jose Toussen: 1-for-3, R, RBI
Nik Turley: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO
Kramer Sneed: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO

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Krum promoted to Triple-A, Heyer activated from DL

(Trenton, NJ) - The Trenton Thunder, Double-A Affiliate of the New York Yankees, announce that RHP Craig Heyer has been activated from the 7-Day Disabled List. In a corresponding move, OF Austin Krum has been transferred to Triple-A Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre. The move keeps the Thunder roster at one below the minimum of 24 active players.

Heyer, who will make his fifth start of the season Saturday night for the Thunder, is 2-2 with a 3.46 ERA as a starter in 2011. The righty from Scottsdale, AZ has also appeared twice out of the Trenton bullpen this season, amassing a 1-0 record with a 1.35 ERA as a reliever.

Krum will make his first appearance at the Triple-A level after spending parts of the last three seasons in a Thunder uniform (237 games from 2009-2011). In 40 games with Trenton in 2011, the Highlands Ranch, CO native has a .242 batting average with 13 runs batted in.

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Dellin Betances' second inning against the Sea Dogs

Friday, May 20, 2011

Betances makes early runs stand up

TRENTON — After a 16-inning game and a six-and-a-half hour bus ride, you could excuse the Thunder if they were a little fatigued.

But that’s the nature of the business, and you have to come out and play the next day. The Thunder weren’t exactly sharp in their series opener against Portland last night, but they took advantage of some sloppy Sea Dog defense for a 3-1 win.

Trenton continues to remain hot in May, improving to 12-6 this month and 22-18 overall.

“When you get opportunities to score runs without hits, that’s a big deal,” said manager Tony Franklin. “The hits that we did get were maximized by their mistakes. You can’t afford to do it.”

Dellin Betances picked up the win to improve to 3-1 on the year. He allowed one run, striking out five and walking four in five innings of work.

“I thought his first nine hitters were really good,” said pitching coach Tommy Phelps. “The second nine hitters he was a little more inconsistent. When he had two strikes or runners in scoring position it looked like he tried to do a little too much at times.”

Franklin said they won’t look to really extend Betances until July and for right now the next step is for him to start working deeper into games on a limited pitch count.

“It’s a steady progression,” Franklin said. “You have to kind of watch his innings. This isn’t where he wants to be or where we want him to be. We want him to pitch in the Major Leagues, and when he gets there we want him to be healthy enough to stay there and pitch well.”

Wilkins Arias and Josh Schmidt combined to shut down Portland (12-25) over the remaining four innings.

Schmidt bounced back from consecutive losses to pick up his second save of the season with scoreless relief innings. It also helped a taxed bullpen that worked 11 innings in the marathon game at Erie.

“Everybody is going to have some bad outings,” Phelps said of Schmidt. “He’s been pitcher of the year here the last two years so it’s nice to have him at the back end when some guys need some rest. He can finish the game for us, and he did a good job.”

The Thunder jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. They loaded the bases with no outs but it looked like Portland starter Alex Wilson was going to get out it after striking out Brad Suttle and Cody Johnson, but second baseman Oscar Tejeda allowed a soft Melky Mesa grounder to roll between his legs.

Trenton added a third run in the second when Addison Maruszak scored on a wild pitch by Wilson.

Wilson fell to 4-3 but settled down after the first two innings, retiring the final 13 batters he faced.

Corban Joseph tripled with two outs in the second and the Thunder didn’t have another baserunner until Joseph walked in the eighth.

Luckily, it didn’t matter.

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Tony's Home

The team has just informed me and other members of the media that Tony Franklin, out since last Thursday after experiencing chest pains before game time, will be back and managing tonight's game against the Portland Sea Dogs.

Bench coach Justin Pope had been managing in his stead, and went 4-2 during his six-game stint at the helm.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Around the System: May 17

Triple-A: Lehigh Valley 7, Scranton 3

Jorge Vazquez: 2-for-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI
Dan Brewer: 3-for-3, R, BB
Jesus Montero: 1-for-5; catcher's interference, PB
Ramiro Pena: 1-for-4
David Phelps: 4 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO
Ryan Pope: 3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, 3 SO

Double-A: Erie 1, Trenton 0

Jose Pirela: 1-for-4
Austin Romine: 1-for-3, BB
Brad Suttle: 0-for-2, 2 BB
Melky Mesa: 0-for-1, 3 BB
Addison Maruszak: 1-for-3, BB
Ray Kruml: 1-for-3, BB
Manny Banuelos: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 SO

High-A: Palm Beach 10, Tampa 4

Abraham Almonte: 2-for-5, 2B, R
Walter Ibarra: 3-for-5, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI, SB
Rob Lyerly: 4-for-5, 2B, 3 RBI
Taylor Grote: 1-for-3, 2B, BB
Scottie Allen: 3 1/3 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO

Low-A: Charleston 9, Savannah 4

Eduardo Sosa: 3-for-4, 2 2B, 2 R
Ramon Flores: 2-for-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, BB
J.R. Murphy: 0-for-3, 2 BB, R
Rob Segedin: 2-for-5, 3B, 2 RBI, R
Kyle Roller: 2-for-4, HR, BB
Gary Sanchez: 1-for-3, R, RBI, 2 BB
Kelvin De Leon: 1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI
Anderson Feliz: 1-for-3, 2B, R
Mikey O'Brien: 5 1/3 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, 5 SO
Dan Burawa: 2 2/3 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pope getting an earlier than expected shot at managing

TRENTON — When chest pains forced Thunder manager Tony Franklin to the hospital just 20 minutes before last Thursday’s game, the team needed a skipper not only for that night, but more than likely for a small spell afterward.

The organization had more than a few choices at its disposal. In house, there were pitching coach Tommy Phelps and hitting coach Julius Matos, both of whom carry extensive experience with the franchise and its players.

The Yankees also could have shipped in one of their higher-ups, like Director of Player Development Pat Roessler or Torre Tyson, the organization’s defensive coordinator, to bridge the time until Franklin’s return.

The fact that they chose to forgo all of those options in favor of Justin Pope — the Thunder’s first-year bench coach and a man so young that he still has former teammates playing in the Eastern League — speaks volumes about how bright his future can be.

That fact wasn’t lost on Pope, who at 32 has gotten a taste of life in the big chair well before he expected it. And even though he’s grateful for the chance, there was one underlying factor that concerned him.

“I had fear of being a pitcher and working with position players, admitted Pope, who pitched for eight seasons in the minor leagues, including parts of three with the Thunder. “That’s what my biggest fear was, of these guys looking at me like, ‘This guy’s a pitcher, what’s he know? I’m not going to listen to him,’ and not getting any respect.”

He’s won three of his first four games at Trenton’s helm, and the offense has scored 17 runs in that time, so he’s got to be doing something right.

Thunder outfielder Austin Krum sure thinks so.

“He’s done a great job. I’ve been talking to some of the guys behind Pope’s back — he’s ready for this spot somewhere. He’s going to be a manager somewhere someday. ... Every move that we’ve made so far since Skip’s not been here has been the right move in my mind,” Krum said.

Franklin is expected to be away at least until this weekend’s homestand with Portland, and possibly until the team’s road trip to Reading next week.

In his stead, Pope has done everything that Franklin would have done. That includes filling out lineup cards, positioning fielders, deciding when to send or hold runners, and making the call on when is an appropriate time to bunt.

That last decision, Pope says, was at the center of his toughest moment so far as a skipper.

In the ninth inning on Sunday, with Melky Mesa on second, Jose Pirela at the plate and the Thunder trailing by a run with nobody out, Pope had to decide whether to have Pirela lay down a bunt or let him swing away.

The decision, obviously, had implications which meant the difference between taking three of four from Binghamton or sending the Thunder on the road to Erie with consecutive losses.

After giving him one chance to swing, Pope called for the bunt, which Pirela pushed beautifully up the third-base line. Addison Maruszak followed with a walk, and Krum capped the win with a two-run triple into right-center field.

“If something happens, he lines out and Mesa gets doubled up, that’s our inning right there,” Pope said, explaining the process by which he came to his decision. “Let’s play it safe, bunt him over, we’ve got two chances to get him in.”

One thing Pope has learned, from when his transition started in the Yankees instructional league back in September, through the first few weeks of watching and learning from Franklin, up until his cameo at the top, is that minor league managers have one goal bigger than their team’s won-lost record.

Above all, they are judged by the number and quality of players they deliver to the big club. You can produce bus league championships every year, but if the talent on those teams can’t stand the pressure in the show, then your tenure with the organization won’t last very long.

“We’re all here for the same reason: To get these guys better, and to hopefully get them to the big leagues,” he said. Not everybody’s going to get to the big leagues, and the guys who don’t get to the big leagues maximize their ability and their potential so they can look in the mirror when they’re done playing and be like ‘Hey, I gave it my all, it just wasn’t meant to be.

“That’s what I did. I didn’t get to the big leagues, but I knew I gave it everything I had, and I can look myself in the mirror. ... Hopefully, maybe this is my calling. ’”

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Around the System - May 16

Triple-A: PPD

Double-A: OFF

High-A: Tampa 8, Palm Beach 4

Abraham Almonte: 3-for-5, R
Walter Ibarra: 2-for-5, 2B
Rob Lyerly: 2-for-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB
Luke Murton: 1-for-4, 2 RBI, SF
Neil Medchill: 1-for-4, 2B, BB
Kelvin Castro: 4-for-4, 3 R, RBI, BB, SB
Kevin Mahoney: 4-for-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI
Josh Romanski: 7 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO
Chase Whitley: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, SO

Low-A: Greenville 8, Charleston 4

Eduardo Sosa: 1-for-5, 2B, RBI
Ramon Flores: 1-for-5, HR, outfield assist
J.R. Murphy: 2-for-4, R
Rob Segedin: 1-for-4, 2B
Gary Sanchez: 1-for-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
Kelvin De Leon: 0-for-2, 2 BB
Jose Ramirez: 4 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 5 BB, 5 SO

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Around the System - May 15

Triple-A: Pawtucket 9, Scranton 3

Kevin Russo: 1-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI
Jesus Montero: 1-for-3, 2B
Justin Maxwell: 1-for-4, HR
Gustavo Molina: 1-for-4, R
Andrew Brackman: 4 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 5 BB, 2 SO

Double-A: Trenton 3, Binghamton 2

Austin Krum: 2-for-4, 3B, 2 RBI, SB
Jose Gil: 2-for-4, 2B, R
Melky Mesa: 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, R
Addison Maruszak: 1-for-2, R, 2 BB
Dellin Betances: 5 2/3 IP, 3 H, R, 5 BB, 6 SO
Tim Norton: IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO

High-A: Palm Beach 5, Tampa 3 - Game 1

Abraham Almonte: 2-for-4, 2B, 2 R
Rob Lyerly: 3-for-3, 2B, 3 RBI
Neil Medchill: 2-for-3
Mitch Abeita: 0-for-1, 2 BB
Kelvin Castro: 0-for-2, R
Sean Black: 3 1/3 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 5 SO

High-A: Tampa 5, Palm Beach 4 - Game 2

Abraham Almonte: 2-for-3, 2B, R, 2 RBI
Taylor Grote: 1-for-3
Rob Lyerly: 0-for-2, R, BB
Neil Medchill: 2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, SB
Walter Ibarra: 1-for-2, R
Jairo Heredia: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO
Preston Claiborne: 2 IP, H, R, ER, BB, 3 SO

Low-A: Charleston 10, Greenville 6

Eduardo Sosa: 2-for-5, 2B
Jose Mojica: 2-for-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI, BB
J.R. Murphy: 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, BB
Rob Segedin: 1-for-3, R
Kyle Roller: 1-for-4, 2 R
Gary Sanchez: 2-for-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB
Ramon Flores: 1-for-5, HR, 3 RBI
Kelvin DeLeon: 3-for-5, HR
Anderson Feliz: 2-for-5, 2 R, SB
Nik Turley: 7 IP, 5 H, R, ER, 3 BB, 7 SO
Tommy Kahnle: 2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO

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Krum's triple leads Thunder past B-mets

Click to enlarge

TRENTON — By the time the dust settled and everything had been sorted out after yesterday’s 3-2 Thunder win over the Binghamton Mets, everybody in the house knew that Austin Krum had struck the game-ending hit.

Whether it was a home run, however, was another question entirely.

In the ninth, with his team down by a run and with two outs and runners on first and third, Krum swatted reliever Erik Turgeon’s first pitch high and deep to right-center field.

It looked to nearly everyone that Krum had a walk-off three-run homer. First-base umpire Travis Hatch, however, saw differently and ruled immediately that the ball had hit the top of the wall and bounced back toward the field.

So while the ball was still in play, Addison Maruszak was still trotting toward home plate until acting manager Justin Pope told him he needed to kick it into gear and get himself across home plate while Krum scampered to third with what was ruled a triple.

He did just that, beating the throw home without a slide and capping his team’s fifth win on a seven-game homestand.

“I saw the ball hit off the top of the wall and then I looked at Travis, and he was giving the safe sign, so then I immediately looked at Maruszak to see where he was on the field,” Krum explained. “My heart started racing a little bit because he was taking it easy a little bit.”

For his part, Pope wasn’t immediately aware that Krum’s ball was still in play.

“I thought the ball went out,” he admitted, “so when Addison was rounding third base, I was saying ‘home run.’ Next thing I know, I see them throwing the ball in and I start screaming ‘run.’ If he would have been thrown out at home, I would have felt horrible.”

Jose Gil and Melky Mesa opened the ninth with consecutive doubles, slicing Binghamton’s two-run deficit in half.

Jose Pirela then bunted Mesa to third, and Ray Kruml made the second out on a hard grounder to first.

Maruszak followed with the walk, and Krum capped it a pitch later with the winning three-bagger.

“Maruszak had just had a good at-bat, and I knew he was going to try to get ahead,” Krum recounted. “I was just looking for something up in the zone to get a good swing on. I obviously didn’t try to hit it where I did, but I put a good swing on it.

The comeback obscured a second straight so-so start from Dellin Betances, who struggled with his command to the tune of five walks in six innings. He’s issued nine free passes over his last two starts, this after walking just two in his first three outings.

“I’ve got to get better with that, man,” he said. “If I want to move up, I’ve got to get better with command of my fastball and other pitches. That’s something I’m going to work on for my next game.”

He also suggested that some of his struggles have come because he’s tried to do too much when he’s put a hitter in a hole.

“I just feel like I’m trying to do too much when I have two strikes, instead of just pitching and working to contact and stuff like that,” he said.

With their hot stretch, the Thunder have moved themselves to three games above .500 in advance of three-game sets with Erie and Portland, which are a combined 27-42.

“We’re starting to put it together, definitely,” Krum said. “We’re led by our pitching, and you saw that show up all series. We have timely hits now and then, and that’s the way you win baseball games.”

NOTES: Manager Tony Franklin, still recovering from a bout of chest pains on Thursday, will not travel to Erie with the rest of the team tomorrow. ... Craig Heyer was wearing a soft, claw-like cast around his left hand yesterday, but said it wasn’t affecting his work. ... Tim Norton struck out the side in the ninth. Over 18 2/3 innings, he’s fanned 30 against six walks.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Silva to start Saturday; Franklin feeling fine

TRENTON – If you like watching Double-A starting pitchers who were born in the 1970s, then the first 35 games of the Thunder’s season have been right up your alley.

In the first six weeks, Trenton has sent Kevin Millwood (1974) and Kei Igawa (1979) to the hill, and will send another ’70s baby to the mound tonight. The man this time is Carlos Silva (1979), who, like Millwood, is another one of the Yankees’ attempts at a reclamation project.

Silva was let go by the Cubs late this spring, and was signed by New York to a minor league contract on April 9, just two days into the minor league season.

He’s made two appearances with High-A Tampa, one for three innings on May 4, and a four-inning stint five days later. He’s allowed two runs on eight hits – one home run – two walks and a strikeout.

The change, of course, requires a little juggling in the Thunder’s rotation. Dellin Betances, originally scheduled to start tonight against Binghamton, will start the homestand finale on Sunday. Manny Banuelos will be pushed to Tuesday in Erie, where the team will begin a short road trip before returning to Waterfront Park on Friday.

Unlike Igawa, tonight’s start will not be Silva’s first in Trenton. With the Reading Phillies in 2001, he gave up seven runs on nine hits – two longballs – in seven innings against the Thunder, who were then an affiliate of the Red Sox.


It seems all is fine with Tony Franklin after Thursday night’s health scare. He experienced chest pains 20 minutes before yesterday’s game, and was taken to St. Francis Medical Center with team physician Lou Fares.

He was back at the ballpark briefly yesterday morning, but won’t be back in uniform for a little while. In his stead, coach Justin Pope will take over the managerial duties. Franklin said yesterday by phone that he hopes to be back with the team when it travels to Reading, but there’s no set date at this time.

“I just need to take it easy for a few days,” Franklin said yesterday, noting that everything checked out fine at the hospital and that doctors assured them he did not have a heart attack.

Pope, trainer Tim Lentych and pitching coach Tommy Phelps went to see Franklin at the hospital but because of the hour, only Lentych was allowed to visit.

“He’s at home resting now,” Pope said yesterday. “Tim said he’s doing good.”

NOTES: Because Ray Kruml broke for second yesterday after being picked off by Binghamton starter Mark Cohoon, it went into the scorebook as a caught stealing. That meant it was the first time either he or Austin Krum had been pinched on the bases in 27 tries.

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Carlos Silva joins the Thunder

In a bit of a surprise, Carlos Silva has joined the Thunder pitching staff for the time being. He last threw on May 9, which would put him on track for an appearance of some sort tomorrow against Binghamton.

The way I see it, this could shake down in one of two ways:

1. Silva starts tomorrow's game and goes three or four innings, and Dellin Betances (tomorrow's scheduled starter) throws for the rest of the game.

2. Silva starts tomorrow's game, goes about five or six innings, and then turns it over to a regular assortment of relievers.

The latter scenario would push Betances to Sunday and Banuelos moving to Tuesday, which would put him at seven days of rest. Because of that, I'd think the Yankees would choose scenario No. 1, just to keep him on regular rest.

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Around the System - May 12

Triple-A: Scranton 5, Buffalo 3

Jesus Montero: 1-for-4, HR, 3 RBI
Justin Maxwell: 2-for-4, 2B, R
Jordan Parraz: 0-for-3, R
Doug Bernier: 1-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI
Adam Warren: 7 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, BB, 3 SO

Double-A: Trenton 7, Binghamton 4

Austin Krum: 1-for-4, R, 2 RBI
Austin Romine: 2-for-4, 2 RBI
Brad Suttle: 0-for-4, SF, RBI
Corban Joseph: 1-for-4, R
Addison Maruszak: 1-for-3, R, 2 RBI
Ray Kruml: 2-for-4, R

High-A: Bradenton 6, Tampa 2

Walter Ibarra: 1-for-4
Rob Lyerly: 2-for-4, 3B
Taylor Grote: 1-for-4, 2B
Deangelo Mack: 1-for-4, R, RBI, 3B
Chase Whitley: 1 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, SO

Low-A: Charleston 5, West Virginia 4

Slade Heathcott: 1-for-4
Ramon Flores: 2-for-4, R
Kelvin De Leon: 1-for-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
Kyle Roller: 2-for-4, HR
Jose Toussen: 3-for-4, RBI
J.R. Murphy: 1-for-4, HR
Mikey O'Brien: 7 IP, 2 H, R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO
Tommy Kahnle: 1 2/3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, SO

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Around the System - May 11

Triple-A: Buffalo 5, Scranton 3

Chris Dickerson: 1-for-5, 2B, RBI
Luis Nunez: 1-for-4, R, SB
Jesus Montero: 1-for-4, RBI
Justin Maxwell: 1-for-4, RBI
David Phelps: 6 IP, 6 H, R, ER, 2 BB, 9 SO

Double-A: Reading 7, Trenton 3

Austin Krum: 1-for-4, 2B
Jose Pirela: 0-for-4, RBI, SF
Brad Suttle: 1-for-5
Austin Romine: 1-for-4, BB
Jose Gil: 3-for-4, 2B, R
Melky Mesa: 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI
Addison Maruszak: 2-for-3, R, BB
Shaeffer Hall: 5 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 4 ER, BB, 2 SO

High-A: Tampa 6, Bradenton 4

Rob Lyerly: 2-for-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI
Luke Murton: 1-for-3, 2B, RBI, R, BB, SB (home)
Neil Medchill: 0-for-2, 2 BB, R, SB
Taylor Grote: 0-for-3, BB, R, SB
Mitch Abeita: 2-for-3, RBI
Josh Romanski: 3 2/3 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 ER, BB, 2 SO
Preston Claiborne: 2 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO

Low-A: Charleston 7, West Virginia 6

Slade Heathcott: 1-for-4, SB
Jose Toussen: 2-for-4, 2 R, SB, outfield assist
Ramon Flores: 2-for-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI, SB, outfield assist
J.R. Murphy: 0-for-3, BB, R
Kyle Roller: 1-for-4, HR, 3 RBI
Kelvin De Leon: 1-for-3, HR, 2 R, BB
Jose Ramirez: 5 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Around the System - May 10

Triple-A: Buffalo 9, Scranton 5

Chris Dickerson: 1-for-3, HR, 2 R, 2 BB, SB
Jesus Montero: 1-for-4, BB
Jorge Vazquez: 3-for-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
Brandon Laird: 2-for-5, 2B, R
Jordan Parraz: 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI
Luis Nunez: 2-for-4
Andrew Brackman: 5 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO

Double-A: Trenton 4, Reading 2

Austin Krum: 1-for-4, R
Jose Pirela: 1-for-4, RBI
Brad Suttle: 1-for4, RBI
Cody Johnson: 1-for-4, HR
Melky Mesa: 2-for-4, 2B
Ray Kruml: 2-for-3, R, RBI, 2 SB
Manny Banuelos: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO

High-A: Tampa 5, Bradenton 2

Abraham Almonte: 1-for-4, R
Walter Ibarra: 1-for-4, R
Neil Medchill: 1-for-3, HR, 2 R, BB
Taylor Grote: 2-for-4, RBI
DeAngelo Mack: 2-for-3, 2B, RBI
Jairo Heredia: 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, 4 SO
Chase Whitley: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, SO

Low-A: West Virginia 5, Charleston 1

Slade Heathcott: 1-for-4, R
Jose Mojica: 1-for-3
J.R. Murphy: 1-for-4, RBI
Gary Sanchez: 1-for-3, 2B
Nik Turley: 7 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 ER, BB, 6 SO
Dan Burawa: 2 IP, 3 H, R, ER, BB, SO

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Manny Banuelos leads the way over Reading

TRENTON -- Tony Franklin sounded like a rerun.

“He’s been better,” the Thunder manager said of winning pitcher Manny Banuelos. “He wasn’t sharp with his location or control of his pitches.

“Once again, the question is when you don’t have your good stuff, how good is he going to be? I think he was pretty good.”

That was essentially what Franklin had said the night before about Dellin Betances. Once again, the result was similar -- only the score was different. This time the Thunder beat the Reading Phillies by a 4-2 count.

The 20-year-old Banuelos threw 84 pitches as he worked the first five innings to pick up not only his first win of the season but his first regular-season victory since 2009. Like his manager, he wasn’t at all satisfied with his control.

“I gave up two walks. That’s bad for me,” he said. “I have to work on my command and throw more strikes.”

Both of the walks led to runs for Reading.

A two-out pass to Derrick Mitchell in the second inning was followed by a stolen base and a run-producing single by Michael Spidale.

In the fifth, Paco Figueroa drew a full-count walk and came around on Tuffy Gosewisch’s double into the right-center gap.

By that time the Thunder had staked Banuelos to a substantial lead, with a little help from Reading’s defense.

Bradley Suttle drove in a first-inning run with a single that was little more than a misjudged fly ball.

Corban Joseph opened the second with a triple into the right-field corner and scored on Ray Kruml’s single off the glove of Reading second baseman Figueroa. Kruml managed to steal second and third before scoring an unearned run when shortstop Freddy Galvis committed the first of his two boots.

Cody Johnson slammed his fourth homer of the year with one out in the third.

From then on it was up to the pitching and the defense. Better make that the defense and the pitching. Just as Reading’s defense had been shoddy, Trenton’s was superb. Shortstop Jose Pirela was especially noteworthy by starting two critical double plays.

“Those are the type of plays that sort of stem the tide,” Franklin said.

After Banuelos left, Franklin paraded Pat Venditte, Tim Norton, Wilkins Arias and Fernando Hernandez to the mound for one-inning stints. All gave up hits but all worked out of trouble, usually with help from the infield, leaving the visitors in a state of frustration.

“They’re a good team from a good organization, just like we are,” said Franklin. “We won these first two, but we know we’ll have tough games with them all season.”

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Manny Banuelos fans Cody Overbeck and Matt Rizzotti

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Betances' big day leads Thunder over Reading

TRENTON -- Thunder pitcher Dellin Betances didn’t think he pitched particularly well last night. His manager, Tony Franklin, didn’t think so either.

Try explaining that to the Reading Phillies.

The Eastern League’s strongest franchise was brought to its knees by Betances last night. The six-foot-eight right-hander limited the Phillies to just one hit over the first five innings and paved the way for the Thunder to come away with a 2-0 victory.

“He didn’t have great control tonight,” Franklin observed. “He wasn’t very sharp but he made some pitches when he needed to. That’s the mark of a good pitcher.”

Betances’ lack of control was evident early when he walked two of the first three batters he faced. He then fanned Cody Overbeck, the league’s leading home run hitter, and Carlos Rivero to end the threat. Those two whiffs touched off a streak of nine straight batters retired -- seven of them on strikeouts.

Overbeck reached him for the one hit he allowed -- a liner that fell one bounce in front of left fielder Austin Krum -- with one out in the fourth. Overbeck was caught stealing by catcher Jose Gil, before Betances again became wild, walking two hitters in a row. The inning ended when second baseman Corban Joseph snared a liner off the bat of Michael Spidale.

Betances worked a perfect fifth (although two of the outs were line drives) before giving way to the bullpen.

“It was one of those days,” Betances said. “I was flying open. That’s why I had a couple of walks early and a couple of walks later.”

The Brooklyn-born hurler said he considered his fastball his best pitch even though he logged at least three of his strikeouts with a sharp, biting curve.

The decision to limit his outing to a maximum of five innings was made before the game started. When he left he had thrown 76 pitches, with only 41 of them strikes.

Cory Arbiso and Josh Schmidt followed with a pair of two-inning stints, with Schmidt picking up his first save of the season.

Trenton’s bats weren’t exactly on fire, but they didn’t have to be.

Joseph, leading off the third, picked up Trenton’s first hit. He moved to second on an infield single by Addison Maruszak and came around on fly balls by Ray Kruml and Krum.

An inning later Gil smoked a one-out double off the right field wall. He moved to third on an infield grounder and scored Trenton’s second run on Melky Mesa’s single to right -- a flair off the end of the bat that happened to drop in.

With the luxury of the victory, Franklin was in the enviable position of being able to contemplate what-if.

What if Betances ever refines his raw talent?

“He’s got such good stuff,” the manager wowed. “When he’s in the strike zone with command he can be fantastic.”

The Reading Phillies probably don’t want to be around the day that happens.

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