Top 10 words from the year that was - No. 5
The most mild surprise was Dan Brewer. He had an excellent season with the Thunder in 2010, but the numbers game brought him back to Trenton for a 10-game spell.
Ryan Pope coming back was also surprising, but injuries and a crowded Scranton pen sent him back to New Jersey for most of the season's second half.
Beyond those two, though, there were a quartet of arms I never thought I'd see again unless it was in the stands in a scouting role.
1. Jeff Marquez - Lingering injuries and a long rehab tour, plus an outright to the minors, gave Marquez an unwanted trip back to Trenton. He made three starts with the Thunder, on Aug. 20 and 27, and Sept. 2. He signed with Seattle in the offseason as a minor league free agent, and for a while all he'll be is the answer to "Name the last Yankee to throw a pitch a Wrigley Field."
2. Alan Horne - 2007's Eastern League Pitcher of the Year, itching for one last shot, made his way back last season from a series of shoulder injuries. It did not go well. In his first outing with the Thunder, in Portland on June 22, the right-hander faced six hitters and retired none. He allowed one hit and walked the other five, and allowed four runs.
It didn't get much better from there. Over the course of his final five appearances, which spanned just 6 1/3 innings, Horne allowed nine more runs (four earned) and walked eight against just three strikeouts. The Yankees released him in July, and he is out of baseball.
3. Kanekoa Texeira - Talk about unexpected. The Mariners took him in the 2009 Rule 5 draft, and he pitched 49 games in the show before winding his way back to the Yankees, who claimed off waivers from the Royals on May 25.
After spending time with the Omaha Royals, the Scranton Yankees and the GCL Yankees, Texeira was sent to Trenton to finish the season's final month. Over 11 innings pitched in as many games, he allowed a ghastly 24 hits and pitched to an ERA of 10.64 and a WHIP of 2.46. He signed with the Reds in the offseason.
4. Brad Halsey - Talk about a trip in the way-back machine. Two players who saw time with the 2003 Thunder club returned to Waterfront Park in 2011. One was Halsey. The other was Derek Jeter.
The Yankees plucked Halsey from out of nowhere on May 1, more than two years after he'd been released by the Dodgers, and decided to see if there was anything more in reserve in a left arm with four years of big league service time.
And although he wasn't as bad as Texeira or Horne, a 4.88 ERA, 41 hits in 31 innings pitched and a batting average north of .300 isn't anything to write home about, either.