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

Thursday, May 9, 2013

O'Brien returns, Daley and Lewis promoted, Hall released, Romanski DLed

TRENTON – A year ago at this time, Mikey O’Brien hopped in his car and began the 18-hour pilgrimage from Tampa to Trenton to get his first taste of upper-level baseball. Starting on Tuesday, he was forced to make the same excruciating drive once again.

After making 19 regular-season starts with the Thunder, plus two more during the team’s march to the 
Eastern League Championship Series, O’Brien was assigned to High-A to begin this season. He stayed there for a month, then moved up when Caleb Cotham was promoted to Triple-A Scranton earlier this week.

Just like last season, he’ll begin this Double-A turn against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats when he takes the slab on Friday at Arm & Hammer Park.

“It just one of those things I can’t really control,” O’Brien said on Wednesday about starting the year back in the Florida State League. “May as well start there, get some work in and work on some stuff. That was basically it. At the end of the day I’ve got to go out and pitch.”

Yankees pitching coordinator Gil Patterson said on Thursday that O’Brien was left back so the organization could get Double-A looks at other guys, and so O’Brien could better tweak a few things mechanically and tighten his slider.

“He had to be built up some, and (there were) people here we wanted to see pitch,” Patterson said. “There were people here we wanted to see and he wasn’t quite ready out of the gate to come out and pitch at this level.”

The Yankees have worked with O’Brien on staying tall out of the windup, which would help improve his balance, command and in the end, results.

“Coming to the balance point, I was kind of hunching over,” he explained. “Basically (I’m) just trying to stay tall and stay down through the ball north and south instead of east to west, instead of cutting everything off.”

Along with O’Brien, the Thunder on Thursday added lefty Fred Lewis and righty Matt Daley – a former big leaguer with the Colorado Rockies – from Tampa. To make room for that pair, Josh Romanski was placed on the disabled list and Shaeffer Hall – in his third season in Double-A – was released from the organization.

It’s not a pleasant experience any time a player gets cut, but for a guy like Hall, who before the game sent manager Tony Franklin a text message saying goodbye and expressing his gratitude for the time he got to spend here, the experience is particularly difficult.

“You have no idea. You have no idea,” Franklin said. “My heart just sank. It’s to release a kid that basically you’ve really grown to love the kid. He’s quite the individual, a man of very good character, determination and passion -- all the things that I think that every youngster should stand for in this game.”

Hall was 3-0 with a 3.32 ERA in 19 innings over 10 games before being released and finished his career with the Thunder with a 22-18 record and a 3.85 ERA. Romanski threw three perfect innings in Tuesday’s win over Binghamton and hasn’t allowed a run in his last 8 1/3 frames.


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