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

Monday, May 6, 2013

Eckstein's number to be retired; injury updates for Higashioka, Segedin, Ibarra

TRENTON – As a shortstop who’s won a World Series MVP, David Eckstein is already part of one sparsely populated fraternity. Aside from Eckstein, only Bucky Dent, Alan Trammell, Derek Jeter and Edgar Renteria have turned that trick.

Come Wednesday, when the former Cardinal and Angel has the No. 2 he wore in 1999 with the Thunder retired, he’ll join an even smaller club. So far, shortstop Nomar Garciaparra and first baseman Tony Clark are the only former Trenton players to have their jerseys hung above the luxury suites at Arm & Hammer Park.

Jackie Robinson’s iconic 42 is also retired, but he obviously never played with Trenton.

"With this being our 20th season, we've spent a lot of time reflecting on our history and David's role with the 1999 team and all of his accomplishments in the Major Leagues could not be overlooked," Thunder general manager Will Smith said.  "The work ethic, character and success that David displayed with the Thunder and around the world of baseball warrants being forever remembered here in Trenton."  

Eckstein will be on hand Wednesday for the ceremonies, which will begin at 6:45 before Trenton’s series finale with Binghamton. He’ll also throw out the first pitch before the game and will sign autographs on the concourse after the game begins.

Although Tony Franklin never managed Eckstein, as a former light-hitting infielder, he’s acutely aware of the impact Eckstein had during his decade in the big leagues.

“I’ve seen him on television a number of times with the Angels and the Cardinals. He’s a guy who was very motivated. Just because of his stature, he probably had to give more than anyone else. Fortunately, he was able to do that,” Franklin said. “Given an opportunity, guys can do tremendous things. I applaud him for his career, whether it’s minor leagues – he certainly had a great major league career. What an outstanding job he did.”


Kyle Higashioka is out for the season. The Thunder’s backup catcher is fresh off Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He suffered the injury while making a throw to second base on April 30 against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

Before his elbow went, Higashioka, serving as J.R. Murphy’s backup, was hitting .320 with three doubles and a longball in seven games.

The news also is not good for Rob Segedin, who has been kept out of action since April 24, when he injured his hip in Akron.

“He’s gotten pictures taken, they did the MRI and things of that nature,” Franklin said. “The doctors haven’t gotten back to us yet. It was serious enough that we put him on the disabled list. He’s there for the time being. As soon as (trainer) Scott (DiFrancesco) hears something from the doctors and from Tim (Lentych) in Tampa, then I’ll know a little bit more. I just don’t know as far as the timetable for him to return – I don’t know if he’s going to return.”

It will also be a while until Thunder fans see Walter Ibarra again. The shortstop, out since April 16 with an abdominal injury, played catch with Franklin on Wednesday at a distance of 60 feet.

“He’s got to get back in condition again,” Franklin said. “He’s been out of there a while.”


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