Archive for April 2010

Phils couldn’t afford Cliff Lee eh?

April 26, 2010

Sure they couldn’t.
The Phillies signed slugging first baseman Ryan Howard to a five-year, $125 million extension today.
Good for Howard. He’s earned it.
But what was the big rush?
I mean, they just gave him a three-year, $54 million extension on Feb. 8, 2009.

CLIFF LEE

While Phils’ fans may sleep a little better knowing Howard is locked up until at least 2016, they have to be scratching their heads (and a little pissed) that general manager Ruben Amaro could not find another $9 million in December to hang onto Cliff Lee and pair him with Roy Halladay, yet had plenty of extra cake for Howard.
All-Star shortstop Jimmy Rollins sure was (scratching his head, and possibly a little pissed, that is) earlier this month.
Amaro deserves a ton of credit for getting Halladay and then convincing him to take a discount on that three-year, $20 million extension.
And maybe the Phillies would not have been able to get Halladay in the multi-team transaction without parting with Lee, who was so clutch for the Phils last season. But that is not what Amaro led everyone to believe when the trade was announced Dec. 17.
“I had a little discomfort that we’d be able to do the type of deal (with Lee) that I’d feel comfortable with,” Amaro said.
Amaro was convinced Lee wanted to dip his toes into the free-agent market after the 2010 season and felt he could not afford to keep him this year, and then risk losing him for nothing after.
Amaro also said he needed prospects Phillippe Aumont (RHP), Tyson Gillies (OF) and Juan Ramirez (RHP) to replenish the small stable of unproven talent he dealt when the Phils obtained Lee from the Cleveland Indians at the deadline, and then another handful in the deal for Halladay, including right-hander Kyle Drabek.
I just don’t buy it.
What say you?

Garcia undergoes second Tommy John surgery

April 25, 2010

Christian Garcia has surgery

TRENTON — Thunder opening night starter Christian Garcia had a second ligament replacement surgery since 2007 Tuesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.
New York Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek performed the procedure, which required taking a ligament from Garcia’s knee to reconstruct the elbow ligament.
Garcia said via text message today he has “zero pain” in the elbow, but is experiencing considerable soreness in the knee, which needed to be cauterized due to excessive bleeding.
Dr. James Andrews performed Garcia’s first two elbow surgeries, including last summer’s clean-out that limited the third-round pick in 2004 to just five Double-A starts.
The “Tommy John” surgery was invented by Dr. Frank Jobe in 1974.
It reconstructs the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) using a tendon from the forearm or knee, which then is used to recreate the damaged ligament and improve the stability of the elbow joint. The success rate is believed to be between 85- and 92-percent.
The 24-year-old Garcia, who has thrown only 90 innings since 2006, is not among the majority. He was lifted after 69 pitches and 5 2/3 innings against Erie April 8 and is done for the season.
Thanks to Josh Norris of ‘Minor Matters’ and WIMG sports director Dave Fenster for helping to pull all the Garcia info together Sunday. It was a team effort.

GAME UPDATE:
Portland 9, Thunder 5 (F)
Coello W, 3-1
Castillo L, 0-2
HR: Portland: Apodaca (1), Anderson (5)
Time: 3:30
Attendance: 5,126

RECAP:
Portland first baseman Lars Anderson drilled a three-run home run in the ninth inning off Trenton reliever Noel Castillo has the Seadogs took three of the four games this weekend with a 9-5 win.
The Anderson homer snapped a 4-4 tie and was Anderson’s second off Castillo in the series.
Closer Grant Duff was ready to pitch to Anderson after Castillo walked the first two batters in the 9th inning, but manager Tony Franklin stuck with Castillo, who has just been pounded at Double-A with an ERA over 11 runs per-game since his debut last season.
“That’s (Castillo’s) role; it was his usually spot and his usual amount of hitters faced,’’ Franklin said. “If we don’t pitch him in that spot, where are we going to pitch him? We expect him to go out there and get outs. It didn’t happen today. He got burned the other night by same guy, and if you are going to develop in this role you are going to face the same hitters time and time again. It’s a continuous situation of development — give him enough chances to see if he can do it or not. That’s what development’s all about.’’
You can read my entire game story in The Times of Trenton here.
****
This three-hour, 30-minute test of endurance featured a combined 26 hits, 13 walks and 22 men left on base … Trenton catcher Austin Romine has thrown out just two out of 12 runners attempting to steal this season. The top Thunder prospect went down hard after being hit in the left elbow on a backswing, which he said caused his hands to twitch, but the symptons eventually calmed down and Romine remained in the game.

Where Are They Now? 2000-2004

April 25, 2010

Noted author, devout Boston Red Sox fan (we try not to hold that against him) and longtime friend of BareBones, David McDonough, has kept a detailed journal of players, managers and coaches that have passed through the Trenton Thunder organization who are still working in the game in one form or fashion.
Remember Mitch Jones?
How about Juan Diaz?
We do.
This may not be a complete list, and we encourage anyone with updated information or corrections on any former player to post a comment here on the blog, or e-mail me direct at johnalbone AT comcast.net.
We’ve divided the group into three eras … and we’ll keep things going with the playoff-less time period of 2000 to 2004, which also featured the arrival of the New York Yankees as the Thunder parent club in 2003.

Players
Kevin Youkilis (2002): Boston Red Sox
Freddy Sanchez (2001-02): San Francisco Giants

KEVIN YOUKILIS

Justin Duchscherer (2000-01): Oakland Athletics
Jorge De La Rosa (2001-02): Colorado Rockies
Jose Contreras (Rehab, 2003): Philadelphia Phillies
Derek Jeter (Rehab, 2003): New York Yankees
Nick Johnson (Rehab, 2003): New York Yankees
Mitch Jones (2003-04): Triple-A Gwinnett (Braves)
Robinson Cano (2003- 04; Rehab 06): New York Yankees
Danny Haas (2001): scout, Boston Red Sox
Andy Cannizaro (2003-05, 2007): Scout, New York Yankees
Keoni DeRenne (2003): Double-A Reading (Phillies)
Matt DeSalvo (2004-06): Triple-A New Orleans (Marlins)
Frank Francisco (2002): Texas Rangers
Sean Henn (2004-05): Triple-A Las Vegas (Blue Jays)
Marty McLeary (2000-02): Double-A New Hampshire (Blue Jays)
Brian Myrow (2003): Triple-A Indianapolis (Pirates)

CHIEN MING WANG

Dioner Navarro (2003-04): Tampa Rays
Joe Nelson (2002): Triple-A Pawtucket (Red Sox)
Ramon S. Ramirez (2003-05): Boston Red Sox
John Valentin (Rehab, 2001): Coach, Double-A Chattanooga (Dodgers)
Kevin Reese (2003-04): Scout, New York Yankees
Eric Schmitt (2003, 2005): Assistant Director of Baseball Operations, Yankees
Chien-ming Wang (2003-04): Washington Nationals

Managers and coaches

Billy Gardner Jr. (Manager 2001-02): Manager, Double-A Montgomery (Rays)
Ron Johnson (Manager 2002): Coach, Boston Red Sox
Stump Merrill (Manager 2003-04): Special assistant to general manager (Yankees)

RON JOHNSON

Independent & Foreign Leagues
Anastacio Martinez (2002): Calgary Vipers (Golden League)
Brian Adams (2002): Broncos de Reynosa (Mexican League)
Alex Ahumada (2001-02): Dorados de Chihuahua (Mexican League)
Buddy Carlyle (2004): Nippon Ham Fighters (Japan)
Edgard Clemente (2001): Broncos de Reynosa (Mexican League)
Juan Diaz (2000): Winnipeg Goldeneyes (Northern League)
Casey Fossum (2001): Hanshin Tigers (Japan)
Nerio Rodriguez (2000): Acereros de Nortea (Mexican League)
Mike Rose (2001-02): Chico Outlaws (Golden League)
Seung Song (2002): Lotte Giants (Korean)
Matt Smith (2003-05): Newark Bears (Atlantic League)
Francisco Villegas (2003-04): Olmeces de Tabasco (Mexican League)

Romine, Franklin ejected in Thunder loss

April 23, 2010

TRENTON — Top Double-A prospect Austin Romine and Thunder manager Tony Franklin each were ejected in a 5-2 loss to Portland last night at Waterfront Park.
Romine was run in the third inning after being called out at the plate by umpire Jon Saphire. Franklin was sent to the clubhouse by Saphire in the sixth.
Romine, the Yankees’ No. 2 prospect, according to Baseball America, suggested to Thunder Thoughts blogger extraordinaire Mike Ashmore that Saphire was not in the right position to make the call that led to his ejection.
You can find all of Mike’s post-game coverage here, including another not-so-sharp outing by Trenton starter Ryan Pope (5.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 5 BB).
The two teams will try and dodge all the rain to squeeze in today’s series finale.

GAME UPDATE:
Portland 5, Thunder 2 (F)
Fife W, 1-1
Pope L, 0-2
HR: Portland: Spears (2)
Time: 2:57
Attendance: 4,592

Kelly, D.J. Mitchell tangle at Waterfront Park

April 23, 2010

TRENTON — Two of the better pitching prospects in the Eastern League mixed it up tonight at Waterfront Park and the results were, well, meh.
Portland’s Casey Kelly, a shortstop/pitcher hybrid making just his third Double-A start, has his own “Joba Rules” and was lifted after just 53 (32 strikes).
The 30th overall pick in the 2008 draft by the Boston Red Sox left a 1-1 game with a no-decision after he had reached his pitch limit.
Thunder right-hander D.J. Mitchell, meanwhile, walked four in the first two innings before settling down.
Mitchell retired eight straight at one point, allowed only two hits and struck out five to registered his second win as the Thunder went on to rock the Portland bullpen in a 9-1 victory.
Reid Gorecki had three hits and two RBIs, while third baseman Brandon Laird homered for the second straight night – a titanic, three-run shot to left field – in the eighth to ice it.

GAME UPDATE:
Thunder 9, Portland 1 (F)
Mitchell W, 2-1
Lawson L, 0-2
HR: Trenton: Laird (3)
Time: 2:41
Attendance: 6,451

Castillo rocked as Thunder drop opener

April 22, 2010

TRENTON — Starter Lance Pendleton and the first two pitchers out of the Thunder bullpen dodged traffic for more than six innings tonight against Portland at Waterfront Park, only to have Lars Anderson and Ray Chang go deep back-to-back in the seventh to give the Seadogs a 3-2 win.
Castillo worked out of a big jam with a key strikeout in the seventh with runners at second and third, but he could not keep the ball down in the eighth inning and the middle of the Portland lineup made him pay.
Trenton third baseman Brandon Laird absolutely crushed a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall with two outs in the bottom of the ninth for his second home run to get the Thunder within a run, but Damon Sublett grounded weakly to second base against Bryce Cox to end the game.
Tomorrow’s pitching matchup is as good as it gets for April, as Portland sends stud prospect Casey Kelly – the 30th pick overall in the 2008 draft – to the bump against Thunder right-hander D.J. Mitchell, who is among the Yankees’ top 20 prospects, according to Baseball America.
Drafted as a pitcher/shortstop hybrid, Kelly turned down a scholarship to play baseball and football at the University of Tennessee and is listed by BA as the Boston Red Sox’s No. 2 prospect.

GAME UPDATE:

Portland 3, Thunder 2 (F)
Coello W, 2-0
Castillo L, 1-1
HR: Portland: Anderson, Chang; Trenton: Laird
Time: 2:45
Attendance: 3,972

Adams belts grand slam as Thunder coast

April 21, 2010

MANCHESTER, N.H. — David Adams continued his April surge with two hits, including a grand slam, and four runs scored today as the Thunder snapped a three-game losing streak with a 13-3 win over New Hampshire at Merchantsauto.com Stadium.
David Phelps improved to 2-0 by spreading out four hits over six innings and striking out six.
Trenton (8-5) heads home to begin a seven-game homestand against Portland and New Hampshire with Lance Pendleton going tomorrow against Portland’s Eamon Portice.
Adams, the Yankees’ top infield prospect at Double-A, is fourth in the Eastern League with a .388 batting average and has an OPS of 1.087.
Adams also is the only Thunder regular hitting above .270.

GAME UPDATE:

Thunder 13, New Hampshire 3 (F)
Phelps W, 2-0
Boone L, 1-1
Time: 2:47
Attendance: 4,515

29 of MiLB’s best in Eastern League … for now

April 21, 2010

The Thunder front office is hoping 29 of the best prospects in all of Minor League Baseball, according to Baseball America, will help lure more fans to Waterfront Park this summer as many will be visiting Trenton at some point this season.

Reading OF Domonic Brown

However, those aching to see Harrisburg’s Stephen Strasburg, the hard-throwing top pick in last year’s draft, are facing long odds as the Senators do not visit until July 1-4, and Strasburg is widely expected to be long gone by then.

Harrisburg RHP
Stephen Strasburg

The same also can be applied to Reading’s stud outfielder, Domonic Brown, since the R-Phils – in a twisted form of scheduling logic – face the Thunder only once in Trenton all season (July 15-18) despite playing in the same division and the two rival franchises separated by a mere 90 miles.
The complete list of Baseball America’s Top 10 Organizational Prospects in the Eastern League is below, along with the dates those clubs are in town.

Akron Aeros – Cleveland Indians
# 2 – Lonnie Chisenhall
# 6 – Nick Weglarz
In Trenton August 30-September 2

Altoona Curve – Pittsburgh Pirates
# 5 – Chase D’Arnaud
# 7 – Tim Alderson
# 9 – Rudy Owens
In Trenton June 15-17

Binghamton Mets – New York Mets
# 5 – Brad Holt
In Trenton May 13-16, June 11-13, August 6-8

Bowie Baysox – Baltimore Orioles
# 3 – Zach Britton
# 10 – Caleb Joseph
In Trenton May 7-9, August 17-19

Erie SeaWolves – Detroit Tigers
# 4 – Andrew Oliver
# 8 – Wilkin Ramirez
In Trenton May 24-27

Harrisburg Senators – Washington Nationals
# 1 – Stephen Strasburg
# 3 – Drew Storen
# 5 – Danny Espinosa
# 6 – Chris Marrero
In Trenton July 1-4, August 13-15

New Britain Rock Cats – Minnesota Twins

# 5 – Ben Revere
# 7 – Carlos Gutierrez
# 9 – David Bromberg
In Trenton July 26-28

New Hampshire Fisher Cats – Toronto Blue Jays

# 1 – Zach Stewart
# 4 – David Cooper
In Trenton April 27-29, June 25-27, July 29-August 1, August 23-25

Portland Sea Dogs – Boston Red Sox
# 2 – Casey Kelly
# 4 – Lars Anderson
# 5 – Ryan Kalish
# 9 – Jose Iglesias
In Trenton April 22-25, June 1-3

Reading Phillies – Philadelphia Phillies
# 1 – Domonic Brown
In Trenton July 15-18

Richmond Flying Squirrels – San Francisco Giants
# 4 – Thomas Neal
# 7 – Roger Kieschnick
# 9 – Brandon Crawford
In Trenton June 4-6

McLeary shows the kids how it’s done

April 20, 2010

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Jeremy Bleich was 10-years-old when Marty McLeary began his minor-league career with Lowell in the NY-Penn. League in 1997.
Tonight at Merchantsauto.com Stadium, the 35-year-old former Thunder reliever showed he still has the stuff to get it done as McLeary delivered six scoreless innings and New Hampshire handed Trenton it’s third straight loss, 2-1.

Marty McLeary

Bleich somehow avoided a disastrous outing after his six walks only translated into two sixth inning runs for the Fisher Cats.
McLeary (1-1), a 10th-round pick of the Boston Red Sox in 1997, appeared in 89 games for the Thunder from 2000-2002. He has 12 games of major league service time with the Padres and Pirates, but has not pitched in a big league game since 2007.
Thunder second baseman David Adams went 3-for-4 with a double, but Trenton (7-5) once again could not overcome a late inning deficit. After Bleich (1-1), the Thunder bullpen did not allow a baserunner over the final 2 2/3 innings.

GAME UPDATE:
New Hampshire 2, Thunder 1 (F)
McLeary W,1-1
Bleich L,1-1
Collins S,1
Time: 2:04
Attendance: 4,024

Where Are They Now? 1994-99

April 19, 2010

TONY CLARK

Noted author, devout Boston Red Sox fan (we try not to hold that against him) and longtime friend of BareBones, David McDonough, has kept a detailed journal of players, managers and coaches that have passed through the Trenton Thunder organization who are still working in the game in one form or fashion.
Remember Lispo Nava?
How about Lou Merloni?
We do.
This may not be a complete list, and we encourage anyone with updated information or corrections on any former player to post a comment here on the blog, or e-mail me direct at johnalbone AT comcast.net.
We’ve divided the group into three eras … and we’ll start with 1994 to 1999.

Players
Trever Miller (1994): St. Louis Cardinals
Tony Clark (1994): Director of Player Relations, MLB Players Association
Dean DeCellis (1994): Scout, Boston Red Sox
Justin Mashore (1994, 1999): Coach, Class-A Dunedin (Blue Jays)
Andy Abad (1995-97): Coach, Class-A Yakima (Diamondbacks)
Nomar Garciaparra (1995): Analyst, ESPN
Scott Emerson (1995- 96): Pitching coach, Double-A Midland (Athletics)
Lee Tinsley (1995): Coach, Seattle Mariners

NOMAR GARCIAPARRA

Lipso Nava (1995): Hitting coach, Class-A Augusta (Giants)
Jeff Suppan (1995): Milwaukee Brewers
Ron Mahay (1995-97): Minnesota Twins
Donnie Sadler (1995): Coach Single-A Gulf Coast (Phillies)
Lou Merloni (1995-97): Analyst, Comcast SportsNet New England
Dana Levangie (1995- 96): Scout, Boston Red Sox
Carl Pavano (1996, Rehab 2006, 08): Minnesota Twins
Bryan Eversgerd (1996): Pitching coach, Class-A Palm Beach (Cardinals)
Bill Haselman (Rehab 97): Manager, Class-A Bakersfield (Rangers)
Joe DePastino (1996-99): Manager, Class-A West Michigan (Tigers)
Brian L. Rose (1996): Analyst, New England Sports Network

WORLD SERIES MVP
DAVID ECKSTEIN

Rafael Betancourt (1997-2001): Colorado Rockies
Chad Epperson (1997-99): Minor-league catching instructor, Red Sox
Pete Walker (1997): Minor league pitching coach, Blue Jays
Ethan Faggett (1997): Assistant Director of Florida Baseball, Boston Red Sox
Adam Everett (1999): Detroit Tigers
David Eckstein (1999): San Diego Padres

Independent & Foreign Leagues
Darin Everson (1998): Manager, Washington Wild Things (Frontier League)
Wilton Veras (1998, 99, 2002): Sinon Bulls (Taiwan)
Raul Gonzalez (1999): Piratas de Campeche (Mexican League)
Morgan Burkhart (1999): manager, Calgary Vipers (Golden League)
Tomo Ohka (1999): Yokohama Bay Stars (Japan)
Chris Thompson (1999): Lincoln Salt Dogs (American Association)
Luis Rodriguez (1999-01): Bridgeport Bluefish (Atlantic League)

Mangers and Coaches
Tom Runnells (Manager 1994): Manager Triple-A Colorado Springs (Rockies)
Ken Macha (Manager 1995-96): Manager, Milwaukee Brewers

KEN MACHA

Rick Peterson (Pitching coach 1995): Pitching coach, Milwaukee Brewers
Al Nipper (Pitching coach 1995, 1997): Scout, Boston Red Sox
DeMarlo Hale (Manager 1997-99): Bench coach, Boston Red Sox
2000-2004
Ralph Treuel (Pitching coach 1996, 98): Minor league pitching coordinator, Boston Red Sox
Mike Griffin (Pitching coach, 1999-2002): Pitching coach, Triple-A Norfolk (Orioles)


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