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

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Austin sits in Game 1


READING, Pa. – If Tyler Austin gets time in the Eastern League playoffs, it most likely won’t come until his 21st birthday, which comes on Thursday, when Trenton plays Reading in Game 2 of the division series.

Manager Tony Franklin said he’d wrestled with the decision prior to Wednesday, but ultimately chose to keep Austin out of the Thunder’s lineup for Game 1. Instead, he penciled Zoilo Almonte in at right field, Adonis Garcia in center, and Rob Segedin – who is dealing with a bit of tendinitis in throwing shoulder – at designated hitter.

The choice, Franklin said, came down to playing guys who’d been with the team all season during the highs and lows on its run to its sixth postseason since 2005.

“It’s finding room, mostly,” Franklin explained. “Where am I going to play him? I think that the guys who have been here deserve an opportunity to play in these games. That’s not to say that he won’t be used. We had a talk about it. I talked to a few guys about it. I just wanted to let him know that he’s not going to be in there tonight.”

Segedin’s shoulder injury keeps him from throwing, which confines him to designated hitter. That obviously complicates matters and limits Franklin’s flexibility. Still, the decision to bench a player ranked by many as one of the top 50 in the sport didn’t come without some conferencing with the player-development staff in Tampa.

“It’s no secret. There’s some discussion about not only what’s best for the player, but what’s best for the team, as well,” Franklin said. “I make calls about exactly what their thinking is with what my thinking is. I was the one who suggested that, because Tyler had just gotten here and Segedin has been here with our club, (Segedin) would be the guy to DH tonight.”

As one would expect from someone who’s already suffered through testicular cancer and a concussion in the last two years, Austin is taking his night off in stride. He knows he just got here, and when his manager told him he’d be sitting on Wednesday, he had no problem.

"It was just a one-on-one thing,” Austin said, “and he just told me, 'Look, we're going to give Segedin the start tonight. He's been up here a lot longer.  We're just going to see how it happens tonight.'"

Segedin, who has hit just .188 in his couple of months with the Thunder, hurt his shoulder last month in Reading on a slide back into second base after a double, said he was examined by team orthopedist William Gomez and the two decided he was good to go for the postseason so long as he didn’t play the field.

“It feels like tendinitis in my shoulder,” he said. “I was playing the outfield and it wasn’t a big deal. It kept getting worse and worse, so it came to the point where it was affecting me throwing in the outfield and affecting the team, so I figured I’d talk to (trainer) Scotty (DiFrancesco) about it. He and the Yankees decided to shut down my throwing from until the tendinitis goes away.”


Yankees reliever David Aardsma was with the Thunder on Wednesday and is expected to pitch an inning on Thursday at FirstEnergy Stadium. He wasn’t entirely clear when he would be used, but they’ve had him start in all of his previous five rehab appearances, so it would be natural to expect him to take the hill before Shaeffer Hall in Game 2.

Aardsma, a 30-year-old rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, was a signing drawn from the blueprint of Jon Lieber, who inked with the Bombers before the 2003 season with the knowledge that he wouldn’t throw a pitch in the big leagues until 2004.

And while the Yankees have said they don’t expect anything from Aardsma this season, the way their bullpen has performed during their second-half tailspin should give them enough motivation to at least see what they’ve got before completely putting the kibosh on his season.

The Phillies made a minor move on Wednesday, adding right-hander Mario Hollands to their roster and demoting backup catcher John Hill. Hollands, who spent time with all four full-season affiliates in 2012, was 3-5 with a 4.75 ERA in nine appearances (eight starts) with Reading before moving the Lehigh Valley.

Hill had five at-bats with the team in a two-game stint. 


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