season-long trend, The Thunder lost yet another member of their staff on
Tuesday when right-hander Brett Marshall was placed on the disabled list.
Marshall, the ace on a team
decimated by injuries, was 7-3 with a 2.99 ERA through his first 14 starts. Bursitis
in his left leg means he joins fellow rotation-mates Josh Romanski (blister),
Graham Stoneburner (groin strain), Craig Heyer (shoulder soreness) and Cory
Arbiso (back stiffness) on the shelf.
The injury is not serious,
Marshall says, and he doesn’t expect to be out long. In fact, he took fielding practice and was in
the weight room before the game. The Yankees typically like to control their
starters’ innings by having them miss one start at some point in the season
anyway, so Marshall missing just one start works out perfectly.
“I just started feeling it a
little bit, but it’s nothing big,” he said before Tuesday’s game with Richmond.
“They just want to shut me down for a start and then (I’ll) get back to it.”
Until now, the Thunder have
patched their rotation’s holes better than they had any right to expect.
The trio of Adam Miller, Mikey O’Brien
and lefty Vidal Nuno has posted a 2.61 ERA over 93 2/3 innings as members of
the starting five. That solid work not
only helped keep Trenton afloat, but propelled it to the top of the standings.
“I think we’ve got guys who could
be promoted, which allows us to cover some injuries. That’s a good thing.”
manager Tony Franklin said before Tuesday’s game. “Probably the best thing
about it is when guys do cover, they’re able to play more than one position.
That versatility becomes very important.”
That malleability and good fortune
has extended well beyond the pitching staff. For every player sent to the
disabled list, the team has found a reliable replacement.
Luke Murton has clubbed 10 homers in Rob
Lyerly’s absence. Kevin Mahoney provided offense, defense and late-inning magic
while filling in at third base. Addison Maruszak started out shakily but has
since played a solid shortstop while Walter Ibarra waits for his middle finger
Jose Pirela, who missed a month
and a half with a concussion and was only expected to be used in a utility role
anyway, has hit .381 with .440 and .546 on-base and slugging percentages while
taking the injured Mahoney’s spot at third.
And who could forget Shane Brown,
the team’s fifth outfielder, who has just 27 at-bats over 13 games but has
already knocked two game-winning hits and earned a win on the mound.
“I think we’ve got a team full of
versatile guys here who can play short, second, third, outfield, first base.
That’s really helped us with all of these injuries,” Franklin said. “The
biggest thing with all of these injuries is that we were able to cover them,
which says that we do have a little bit of depth in the organization.”
Now they’ll have to count on
Ricky Orta, a fourth-rounder of the Mariners in 2006 and who pitched most
recently in the Rays organization, to keep things going. Orta was added to
Trenton’s roster on Tuesday and will be used out of the bullpen.
A right-hander from the
University of Miami, Orta missed all of 2010 with elbow surgery before being
cut by Seattle. He latched on with the Rays before last season and made four
starts with team’s affiliate in the Gulf Coast League.
NOTES: Romanski and Heyer each
threw bullpens on Sunday and each will throw another on Wednesday. Heyer
expects to be activated in early July. … Catcher Jeff Farnham said he sprained
his ankle against Erie during the last homestand when he tripped on a sprinkler
head. … Although there’s still no timetable for Cory Arbiso’s return, he says
he has no pain in his injured back.