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

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ibarra hits the DL; Heathcott getting closer

TRENTON – Outside of the initial wave of transactions to help stabilize the roster, the Thunder had managed to escape the opening month of the season without any major injuries. That changed when shortstop Walter Ibarra grimaced during his final at-bat on Monday.

The shortstop, who has come out with a hot bat over the first two weeks or so, was placed on the disabled list on Tuesday with what manager Tony Franklin termed a “strained side.” He is day-to-day and the timetable for his return is unknown.

“Winced when he took a swing, his last at-bat, and before I knew it he was out of the game.  I hadn't realized it until the inning was over and (coach) Luis (Dorante) was telling me that Walter had injured his side. Next thing I know, Stevenson's in the game,” Franklin said. “I hadn't even planned on playing Stevenson. ... It was an emergency, and he was able to go in.  Walter's day-to-day right now, but I think it's serious enough that we did put him on the disabled list.  We're precautious with a lot of the injuries.”

To take his spot on the roster, outfielder Shane Brown, who had been transferred to the Staten Island roster when Kevin Mahoney returned from paternity leave, was re-activated. Casey Stevenson, who has seven games at the position in his career, will man the shortstop duties for the time being. If need be, Jose Pirela is versatile middle infielder with plenty of experience at both shortstop and second base.

Carmen Angelini is also available at High-A Tampa if the Yankees prefer a long-term solution with a more solid pedigree.

Ibarra is attempting a bit of a comeback this year after missing most of last season with injuries to his right middle finger. Those setbacks kept him to just 51 games last year – 44 with the Thunder and seven more rehabbing in the Gulf Coast League.

When he did return, he found a red-hot Addison Maruszak had assumed his starting role with no intent on letting go. Ibarra, who played for Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic and has his tournament nameplate above his locker, was doing all he could to make sure the same thing didn’t happen again this year.  

Through the first 11 games, Ibarra was hitting .310/.333/.405 and was 7 of his last 10 before the injury. With numbers like that, you can be sure both he and the Thunder will be anxious for him to heal and re-take his spot at the bottom of the lineup.

NOTES: Franklin indicated that center fielder Slade Heathcott, out since last Thursday with a strained neck, could play as soon as Wednesday. He ran the bases on Tuesday and did drills in the outfield, usually the last hurdles a player needs to complete in order to complete before he’s cleared for reactivation. 


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