New age of media for Yankees farmhands

Posted April 3, 2011 by johnalbone
Categories: Uncategorized

Yankees top prospect Jesus Montero surrounded by media at the 2008 Futures Game

This story also appears in The Times of Trenton and at nj.com/thunder.

Churning out some of the biggest prospects in baseball is nothing new for the Yankees.
The eruption of new media and social networking tools now documenting their every move is.
The image of minor-league baseball played in ramshackle structures depicted in films such as “The Natural” and “Bull Durham” is gone, replaced by fan-friendly, revenue-generating ballparks and an expanding media capable of covering the game’s players like never before.
Imagine downloading video of Yogi Berra taking practice at Newark of the International League in 1946?
How about a YouTube clip of Mickey Mantle shagging fly balls at Municipal Stadium for the Kansas City Blues in 1951?
Or perhaps sending a Facebook friend request to Derek Jeter during his days at Albany-Colonie in 1994?
How times have changed.
It is common knowledge that some of the most renowned and respected sportswriters in history looked the other way when players (Mantle and Babe Ruth immediately come to mind) ran afoul after hours.
Today?

Yankees general Brian Cashman and VP of Baseball Operations Mark Newman help prospects deal with the explosion of media covering the organization.

ESPN and sites such as TMZ and Deadspin can be at the scene before the squad-car door closes.
“It is a blessing and a curse,” Yankees senior vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman said of the ever-expanding role of the media. “Most of us here have been doing this a long time, but things are a little more intense now because of the explosion of the different media sources and an increased emphasis on prospects. Believe me, our players understand the difference between what is hype and what is real, and if they forget they will be reminded.”
Helping prospects such as Jesus Montero, Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos deal with the hype connected with their ascension through the Yankees’ farm system has become part of the development plan.
Since 2007, the Yankees have made their young players take media training on the first day of spring training and, while helpful, Newman says that is really just a couple of days of videos, mock interviews and some guest speakers.
Living it every day over the course of a 142-game season, alongside the media and all their new tools stationed at affiliates such as Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, is a far more realistic classroom.
“When you play in New York you are going to deal with a lot of those things anyway, so if you can get started learning at an early age that helps,” Newman said. “Guys that go through our system tend to handle that stuff pretty well. I remember when (Yankees All-Star second baseman) Robbie Cano first came up and started poorly, a headline in one of the tabloids said: “CANO CAN NOT.” So, they get that, too. They get the hype and they get vitriol, and they have to learn to deal with it.”
Some top-tier prospects, such as Betances, take advantage of their time in major-league camp to get advice from veterans that have been through the media pressure cooker in New York.
“I definitely have gotten some feedback from CC Sabathia and Mariano (Rivera) about how to go about your business,” said Betances, the likely Thunder starter for Opening Day Thursday at New Hampshire. “Staying focused and working hard is what it’s all about. You know it’s there, but you try not to worry about all that other stuff.”
Waterfront Park will be buzzing for the Thunder home opener April 14 against Harrisburg, but more than a week earlier the 2011 club will take part in media day as reporters, bloggers, Tweeters and internet scouting services will be on the field obtaining and relaying instant information from the latest crop of Yankees farmhands and Trenton coaches.
“The landscape of sports media has changed dramatically since I started in 2003,” successful blogger and “Thunder Thoughts’ beat writer Mike Ashmore said.
Ashmore’s blog is one of the most widely read sites in the minor leagues, closing in on 1 million hits since its inception.
“Twitter didn’t even exist. Now, it is arguably the best source for information around. With so many online outlets, whether it is blogs, or websites and so on, getting it right and getting it first – and it isn’t always in that order, sadly – has become much more important.”

Ex-Princeton Star Chris Young Meets The Mets

Posted February 13, 2011 by johnalbone
Categories: Uncategorized

2007 N.L. All-Star and former Princeton star Chris Young reports to the Mets this week.
(Photo courtesy of Princeton Sports Information)

This feature also appears in The Times of Trenton and on nj.com

Signing a free-agent contract with the Mets during the most tumultuous period in the franchise’s history may not appear to be a wise career move.
However, The Sporting News did not have to rank Chris Young eighth on its recent list of 20 smartest athletes for anyone even vaguely familiar with the former Princeton University two-sport star to see that he is no dummy.
The fact Young scored 1,300 on his SATs and completed a Princeton thesis entitled: “The Integration of Professional Baseball and Racial Attitudes in America: A Quantitative Study in Stereotype Change’’ represents only a small part of his range.
In September of 2000 at the age of 21, Young signed a $1.65 million contract after being drafted in the third round by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The contract was $1.1 million more than the Pirates initially offered and equaled in cash value the deal agreed to by the team’s first-round pick, Sean Burnett.
Only number eight, you say?
At the time, the 6-foot-10 Young also was arguably the top basketball player in the Ivy League and a certain NBA draft pick. But when Young officially signed with the Pirates he immediately was ruled ineligible to play his senior season at Princeton.
The NCAA eased its rules regarding amateurism in 1974, but the Ivy League never did follow suit and its bylaws stipulated that once Young signed professionally with the Pirates he no longer was an amateur and his athletic career at Princeton was over.
“No regrets whatsoever,’’ Young says. “I was forced to make a decision at the time regarding an eligibility system that is archaic with rules that serve no purpose. I was put in a position to make a decision and there is no doubt it was the right decision.’’
Since making his major league debut with the Texas Rangers in 2004, the right-hander Young is 48-34 (.585) with a 3.80 ERA and has earned more than $16 million over his career.
Only eighth? Really?
In December, Young signed a one-year, $1.1 million contract ($4.5 million if incentives are reached) with the Mets and will report to spring training in Port St. Lucie with the rest of the team’s pitchers and catchers Thursday.
While no one can dare question Young’s intelligence, hitching his star to a struggling Mets franchise embroiled in scandal may eventually test his patience, not to mention his sanity.
The Mets and owner Fred Wilpon are facing a potentially devastating lawsuit of between $300 million and $1 billion filed by a trustee representing the victims of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.
The suit claims Wilpon, Saul B. Katz, Sterling Equities and its partners, including Mets chief operating officer, Jeff Wilpon, not only knew of the Madoff scam but profited from it.
If trustee Irving H. Picard can prove those claims on behalf of the victims, he could seek to recover $1 billion and the Wilpons may be forced to sell the club and its Citi Field lease, valued by Forbes at $858 million. Other experts put the valuation much less after factoring in the Mets’ debt load and what the Wilpons have borrowed against the team over the years.
“What is going on (with ownership) has no impact on me or what I need to do,’’ Young said. “I need to focus on myself, being healthy and prepared to go out and do my job. The situation is unfortunate, but it will have no bearing whatsoever on how I am going to perform this year.’’
Coming off three injury-plagued years, which included an Albert Pujols line drive off his face in 2008 and persistent trouble with his right shoulder, Young was limited to just four starts with the San Diego Padres late last season and has made only 36 starts since being named a National League All-Star in 2007.
“The injuries were frustrating, but I can’t control the past,’’ Young said. “Every time there was a setback it was another opportunity for me to persevere. Hopefully I can put this whole bad stretch behind me and it will turn out to be just a tiny blip on my career.’’
With a strong finish to 2010 to build on, a healthy Young said he has been guaranteed by general manager Sandy Alderson and new manager Terry Collins that, barring further injury, he is guaranteed a spot in the starting rotation.
“They made that clear and that is why I signed with the Mets,’’ Young said. “It’s not up for debate. Unless I am hurt one of those spots is mine regardless of spring training performance. That said my goal is to not go in there comfortable. I am ready to work. I’ve been able to strengthen the shoulder between my physical therapy program and accelerating my throwing and I am excited for spring training. All things considered the Mets were the best fit.’’

Pope begins carving new path to the majors

Posted December 18, 2010 by johnalbone
Categories: Uncategorized

Justin Pope is the Thunder all-times saves leader with 58 (Photo by Beverly Schaefer)

This feature also can be found in Saturday’s Times of Trenton and at nj.com

Justin Pope was prepared to call it a career after ending the 2008 season on a high note with 10 saves and a 2.23 ERA for the Phillies’ Double-A affiliate in Reading.
“But because I finished so strong the Phillies said they wanted me at Triple-A (in 2009) and that they had big plans for me,’’ said Pope, the all-time Thunder saves leader with 58. “My heart was telling me to shut it down, but I decided to re-sign. Then, with a week left in spring training, they released me.’’
Although just 6-foot and 180 pounds, Pope’s right arm was so promising the St. Louis Cardinals selected him with the 28th overall pick in the 2001 draft _ 10 spots before David Wright went to the Mets in an amateur talent pool that included Joe Mauer (No. 1), Mark Prior (2), Gavin Floyd (4) and Mark Teixeira (5).
Only Pope, a first-team NCAA All-America at Central Florida University, never made it to the major leagues. In fact he appeared in just 28 games above Double-A.
With his appointment to the Thunder coaching staff Wednesday as one of manager Tony Franklin’s three assistants, the 31-year-old Pope has been afforded the opportunity to start his big league journey anew.
“My time as a player is over,’’ Pope said. “But I can honestly say I can look myself in the mirror and I am more than happy with how my career went. Everybody wants to get to the big leagues, but I didn’t and I am perfectly okay with that. I have a new goal now and that is to get there as a coach, but along the way help other guys get there by maximizing their abilities.’’
The Yankees saw coaching potential in Pope as far back as 2007, so they dangled the carrot before sending him back down to Trenton from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre late that summer in a move that effectively ended his chances of reaching the major leagues.
“While rehabbing an injury with the Phillies in Clearwater (Fla.) back in 2008 I started to find myself enjoying just watching the game and thinking about things I would do in certain situations,’’ Pope said. “Not just watching, but really observing. That’s when I knew I wanted to coach and I didn’t want to play anymore. That’s when I made the call to the Yankees.’’
Although former Thunder players such as Kevin Reese and Andy Cannizaro have returned to the organization in a scouting capacity, and Eric Schmitt has positioned himself as the right hand man of minor league boss and Yankees senior vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman, Pope is the first to return as a Double-A coach.
After cutting his teeth with the Yanks’ Gulf Coast League affiliate in 2009, Pope was dispatched to short-season Staten Island of the NY-Penn. League in 2010.
“I love baseball; I’ve played it my entire life and I knew I wanted to stay around the game,’’ Pope said. “The Yankees offered me a coaching position after the 2007 season, but I said ‘no’ because I wanted to play for one, maybe two more years and get it all out of my system. I didn’t want to look back and regret anything.’’
Pope still is not sure what role he will have on the Thunder staff.
With the popular and successful Tommy Phelps in charge of the Trenton pitchers, Pope is looking to become a sponge and digest all aspects of the game _ everything from outfield positioning, to hit-and-run scenarios and lining up cutoff men.
“One thing I did try to do as a player was pay attention to the whole game,’’ Pope said. “There is always something to learn in baseball. The day you stop trying to get better, or stop learning, is when people go right past you. If I am going to get where I want to go as a coach I have to learn and get better every day. It is so many little things.
“I really enjoyed my time in Trenton, so when they told me that is where I was going to be I was ecstatic. It’s a great place to play and I have always been really comfortable around Tony, even during my short time there in 2007. I just feel really lucky and very fortunate to be back and working toward a whole new set of goals.’’

BA: Montero top Yanks prospect … again

Posted November 20, 2010 by johnalbone
Categories: Uncategorized

Jesus Montero

TRENTON — The veritable bible of minor-league baseball has spoken, and for the second consecutive season catcher Jesus Montero sits atop Baseball America’s list of top 10 Yankees’ prospects.
Eight of the 10 players featured in the Nov. 15-28 issue have played for the Thunder. The other two, 2009 first-round draft pick Slade Heathcott and Class-A catcher Gary Sanchez, are ticketed for Waterfront Park by 2012.
Catcher Austin Romine dropped from second to sixth on the list after a largely disappointing season at Double-A in 2010, while three of Trenton’s playoff starting pitchers – Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos and Andrew Brackman – round out BA’s top five.
Following Romine, whose offensive struggles seem to have carried over to the Arizona Fall League (.286, 0 HR, 7 RBIs), are right-hander Hector Noesi at No. 7, infielder and 2009 Thunder postseason All-Star Eduardo Nunez at No. 8, the multi-tooled outfielder Heathcott at No. 9 and 2010 Eastern League Most Valuable Player Brandon Laird at No. 10.
Laird has been playing the outfield at the AFL and is hitting .222 with three home runs and 17 RBIs.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said last week that Montero and his big bat will be given every opportunity in spring training to be the Yankees’ starting catcher now that the club has informed Jorge Posada that most of his at bats will come as the designated hitter in the final year of his contract.
Interestingly, Montero almost was traded to the Seattle Mariners near the July 31 deadline for Cliff Lee before the Mariners pulled the trigger on what they felt was a better offer from the American League Champion Texas Rangers.
However, should the free agent Lee sign with the Yankees, as many expect, he could very well have Montero as his catcher in 2011.
Montero, 21, has yet to appear in a major league game, but Cashman thinks his top prospect (and bargaining chip) could meet the challenge, similar to the faith the World Champion San Francisco Giants invested in their young catcher, Buster Posey.
“I do have people who believe (Montero’s) major league ready at the catcher’s position, with a tremendous offensive bat,” Cashman recently told mlb.com. “But nothing gets handed to somebody. You have to take it and earn it.
He’ll have a chance to come to spring training and fight for something, and he’ll either show he is ready for something at a higher level or not.”
Montero batted .289 with 21 homers and 75 RBIs last season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Here is a look at the remaining nine Yankees’ prospects on Baseball America’s top 10 list.

2) Sanchez – The Yankees gave him a $3 million signing bonus _ the fourth highest in club history _ as a teenager in the Dominican Republic. He split last season between the Gulf Coast League (Rookie) and Staten Island (short season) and is expected to begin 2011 at low-A Charleston.

3) Betances – The 6-foot-8 right-hander is highly coveted and made five starts for the Thunder, including two in the playoffs, after being promoted from Class-A Tampa Aug. 23. Betances is expected to be at the top of the Trenton rotation again next season.

4) Banuelos – The left-hander showed poise and an array of quality stuff in his five starts for the Thunder last season after being sent up from Tampa. He is 0-2 with a 4.05 ERA in the Arizona Fall League. Will return to Trenton next season.

5) Brackman – Had a combined 10 wins between Tampa and Trenton (3.01 ERA in 15 games) and was the Thunder’s most dominant starter down the stretch. Has a solid chance to begin next season at Triple-A.

6) Romine – The organization’s No. 2 prospect last season, Romine started hot and then consistently tailed off, as the fatigue of catching every day set in. Will start at SWB if Montero sticks in New York … or unless one of them is traded.

7) Noesi – The right-hander largely struggled at Triple-A after dominating Eastern League batters. Still, Noesi ascended three levels in a short amount of time and will be back in the SWB rotation.

8.) Nunez – With Derek Jeter a lock to re-sign with the Yankees, look for Nunez to take over for Ramiro Pena as the Yankees’ top utility player after getting his feet wet with 50 big league at bats (.280) last season. Nunez replaced Mark Teixeira on the ALCS roster when the Gold Glove first baseman pulled his hamstring against the Rangers.

9) Heathcott – The 29th overall pick in 2009 hit just .258 with two homers and 30 RBIs for Charleston and is expected to start next season in Tampa.

10) Laird – With the farm system thin on corner outfield prospect with power, the Yankees are hoping to plug one of those holes with Laird, who is coming off a career year that featured a .291batting average, 23 home runs and 90 RBIs for the Thunder before being elevated to Scranton.

Pettitte rehab complete as Thunder grab Game 1

Posted September 15, 2010 by johnalbone
Categories: Uncategorized

Andy Pettitte adresses the media following his final rehab start with the Thunder Tuesday night vs. Altoona in Game 1 of the ELCS.
(Photo by Mike Ashmore)

This story also appears in
today’s Times of Trenton and at nj.com


For everything else you need to know about Pettitte and the ELCS, including video, you already should know to see
Mike Ashmore.

ALTOONA, Pa. – Andy Pettitte was not where he wanted to be last night, both literally and figuratively, but that all should change come Sunday.
With his rehab assignment choices limited this week, Pettitte traveled more than five hours to play a starting role in the Thunder’s 3-2, 10-inning victory over Altoona in Game 1 of the Eastern League Championship Series last night at Blair County Ballpark.
Austin Romine’s two-out, run-scoring single in extra innings scored Austin Krum with the winning run as Trenton, seeking its third EL title in four years, grabbed a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
After five innings and 67 pitches, then another 10 in the bullpen following his start, alogn with his first real taste of adversity since officially beginning his comeback with four innings against New Hampshire at Waterfront Park Sept. 9, the 38-year-old left-hander is expected to return to the Yankees rotation Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
“Unless they tell me I am not starting I feel it’s time I get in a big league game and get going up there,’’ Pettitte said. “I am going to pitch Sunday in Baltimore, so that will give me three starts (before the playoffs). That will be enough. That’s what I’ve got (left). I am a long way from where I was, but I am working to get back there.’’
Pettitte yielded a solo home run to Altoona leadoff hitter Chase d’Arnaud on just his fourth pitch of the game, and the Western Division champion Curve hit several balls on the nose against the most successful postseason pitcher in Major League history to grab some early momentum.
“It was a flat cutter,’’ Pettitte said of d’Arnaud’s third homer of the playoffs. “I was ahead in the count (1-2) and didn’t bury it. If you don’t bury a cutter and it stays flat on the inner half that’s what happens to it. That’s definitely not the way you want to start the night, but I was glad I was able to give us a decent start to where our guys can hopefully pull the game out.’’
Pettitte allowed six hits and two earned runs with a walk and four strikeouts. He gave up just one run after loading the bases with one out as part of a 21-pitch third inning, then extracted himself from a bases loaded, no out jam in the fifth by inducing a 1-2-3 double play before striking out Curve cleanup hitter Matt Hague to keep the game tied at 2-2.
Andrew Brackman (1-0) relieved Pettitte and delivered five shutout innings in which he gave up just one hit and struck out four.
The 6-foot-10 Brackman also got out of a bases-loaded, one out situation in the eighth inning and was credited with his first playoff win despite seven days rest since his last outing Sept. 7 in New Britain.
In 40 innings this postseason, Thunder pitchers have a 0.67 ERA. Since Aug. 11, Brackman has an ERA of 0.71.
“They did it again … they pitched out of key situations,’’ Romine said of his staff. “You expect Pettitte to do it, but our entire pitching staff is bearing down. To see these young guys evolve and make the pitches they need to make makes you feel good as a catcher.’’
The Thunder smacked 10 hits and had a chance to send Pettitte on his way with a one-run lead, but Krum was thrown out at home plate in the fifth inning on a Romine single to right field _ nearly the identical situation as the 10th inning, just with a much more favorable outcome.
“I felt good,’’ Pettitte said. “I don’t feel like I was quite as sharp as I was (Sept. 9). I was a little more amped up, but the last couple innings were better in terms of mechanics. It was good to get into some trouble that (fifth) inning. I felt like I had to make some pitches.’’
In his two Double-A rehab appearances, Pettitte completed nine innings, gave up 10 hits, two earned runs, walked one, struck out eight and was charged with three wild pitches.
For the Thunder, a 1-0 series lead has served them well since the three-game collapse against Portland in 2006.
Trenton is unbeaten (5-0) in its last five playoff series when taking Game 1.
“Every pitch meant something,’’ Brackman said. “Once the playoff started everyone, and not just the pitchers, focused a little bit more because we want to win a championship. We didn’t play a whole season to just quit at the end.’’

J.B. Cox suspended for dugout incident

Posted September 9, 2010 by johnalbone
Categories: Uncategorized

J.B. Cox

Mark Newman and the Yankees gave J.B. Cox another chance when he quit on the Thunder, the organization and himself last June.
After last night outburst directed at manager Tony Franklin, the once highly-regarded reliever likely is gone from the organization for good.
Cox was placed on the suspended after eyewitnesses in the front row last night confirm an angry Cox get in the face and reportedly chest-bump the 60-year-old Franklin after the skipper hooked him in the eighth inning of a 2-0 victory over New Hampshire in Game 1 of the Eastern League Division Series at Waterfront Park.
Cox got two outs in the eighth, but also allowed a single and a walk. Leaving nothing to chance with a rested bullpen in a huge game, Franklin called on Pat Venditte, then closer Ryan Pope.
Cox was nowhere to be found in the clubhouse after the game, where Franklin was seen meeting almost immediately with Yankees director of player development Pat Roessler.
“It was just words exchanged,” Franklin said prior to Thursday’s thrilling, 1-0 victory in 12 innings. “I took exception to what he said to me. I didn’t think it was very professional and he probably took exception to what I said to him. We just think the best thing to do was to suspend him for the remainder of the season. Those kinds of altercations are ugly. He was very frustrated about coming out of the game, but I had to go get him. I had a decision to make.”
Cox, 26, was 3-0 with a 4.28 ERA in 26 games since returning to the Yankees. The former University of Texas All-American quit on the Thunder last June following a horrendous road trip to Akron and did not return until this summer.
In 2007, and on the verge of a 40-man roster spot, Cox missed the entire season after breaking his hand in a bar fight.
“We took action and we felt this action was needed,” Franklin added. “If his career is over with the Yankees I’d hate for it to end on this note.”
Below is my feature story on Cox that appeared in The Times of Trenton and on nj.com July 3, the one in which the right-hander insisted he had turned over a new leaf.

Cox takes the long road back

By John Nalbone
SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

TRENTON– The Yankees had high hopes for James Brent “J.B.” Cox when they used their second round pick in the 2005 draft on the former University of Texas closer.
Five years of injuries, disappointments and at least one very poor decision later, Cox now finds himself closer to retirement than to a job in the Yankees’ bullpen.
After walking away from the game last June following a soul-crushing two-game performance for the Thunder at Akron, Cox returned to a Double-A pitcher’s mound for the first time in over a year Thursday night and earned his first win since August of 2008.
“It’s been an emotional and physical rollercoaster,” Cox said. “It’s one of those deals where it sounds cliché to say, but I went through it and I am in a much better place now mentally. Overall, it’s been tough and I don’t want to do it again, but one thing I can say is I think it has made me a better person.”
The downward spiral for the 26-year-old Cox began when his invitation to big league spring training in 2007 was rescinded after he broke a bone in his pitching hand during a bar fight the previous December.
Elbow surgery followed and Cox ended up missing all of 2007 after going 6-2 with a 1.75 ERA and three saves in 41 appearances for the Thunder in 2006.
In July of that season, Cox appeared in 15 straight games (26 innings) for manager Bill Masse without allowing a run.
That was as good as it would get for the former Longhorns’ All-American, who has seen his former Texas bullpen mate Huston Street go 25-14 with a 2.92 ERA and 130 saves over a six-year big league career that includes the 2005 American League Rookie of the Year Award.
After three years of physical and emotional torment attempting to make it back following the bar room fiasco and subsequent elbow surgery, Cox abruptly packed up his belongings and walked away from the game after allowing four hits, including a grand slam, four runs and four walks in two appearances (one inning) against Akron last June 23-24.
“I’m a grown man,” Cox said. “I can handle going out there and getting lit up if I have my stuff. But I could not handle going out there and feeling almost naked on the mound with no ammo and nothing to compete with. What got to me the most emotionally was not being able to look my teammates in the eye because I could not give them an honest effort. I’d come into the locker room and not want to talk to anybody.
“I didn’t think I was coming back. I thought (2009) was it. After the low point of the back-to-back outings in Akron I made up my mind that this wasn’t for me.
“I thought I was done completely. Obviously things have turned around a little bit since then.”
Cox decided to go back to Texas and finish his degree, but when a friend attempting to recover from Tommy John surgery asked him to play catch, Cox felt something he had not experienced in a very long time.
“That was the first time in several years that I played catch where I didn’t have to think, or care about what the ball did, or what anybody thought that was watching me,” he said.
“I was keeping it simple. From there I started playing catch with (University of Texas pitching coach) Skip Johnson and decided to give it another shot.”
Cox had his agent contact Yankees executive vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman and another opportunity was at hand.
Despite going 0-1 with a 8.59 ERA in five games at Class-A Tampa this spring, Cox was elevated to Double-A Trenton and made a successful return with two scoreless innings and the victory in Thursday’s series opener against Harrisburg at Waterfront Park.
The Thunder led last night’s game 7-1 through five innings behind starter and Eastern League All-Star Lance Pendleton.
“I’ll be the first one to tell you I didn’t have a backup plan,” Cox said of his career path. “I thought I was going the quick route to the majors. The next thing you know you’re hurt and stuff happens. Obviously it’s still a goal to get to the big leagues, but I need to take it day-to-day even if I have a bad outing. I have to take the positives, build on those and capitalize on every opportunity. Whatever happens happens. I just know I am a baseball player and this is what I am supposed to be doing.”

Andy Pettitte will rehab with Thunder Thursday

Posted September 5, 2010 by johnalbone
Categories: Uncategorized

Andy Pettitte is escorted from the mound after injuring his groin against Tampa July 18

TRENTON _ After nearly a month of speculation and setbacks, Andy Pettitte is on his way to Double-A Trenton.
The Yankees left-hander and future Hall of Fame candidate will start Game 2 of the Eastern League Divisional Playoffs for the Thunder Thursday against New Hampshire at Waterfront Park.
Out since July 18 with a strained groin and hip flexor, Pettitte was cleared to throw 60-65 pitchers or four innings for the Thunder following a successful 20-pitch bullpen session prior to today’s 4-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles at the Stadium.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said there is a chance Pettitte will make two minor league starts before returning to the rotation, but Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre also is in the postseason and could serve as Pettitte’s final stop.
“If he gets to 65 pitches (in the first rehab start), then the area of concern the next time is 65 to 80 (pitches,” Girardi said. “So, if he’s at 75, then you know he should be fine all the way up to 75, and then you start to get a little bit worried if he gets fatigued (beyond 75 pitches).”
Dellin Betances will start Game 1 for the Eastern Division champion Thunder (83-59), which wrapped up the regular season today with a 5-2 victory over New Britain.
Adam Warren likely will get pushed back to Game 3 at Merchantsauto.com stadium, and it is not yet known who will be first in relief of Pettitte Thursday.
Manager Tony Franklin, snubbed for EL Manager of the Year honors for the third time in four years despite three division championships and two league titles, is expected to lock in his playoff rotation sometime today.
It was a good news, bad news day for Trenton Monday as the pending arrival of one of the most clutch postseason pitchers in Major League Baseball history was offset by the departure of the club’s hottest hitter.
Outfielder Justin Christian took his 19-game hitting streak to Scranton yesterday, putting yet more pressure on Austin Krum, Dan Brewer, Marcos Vechionacci and Austin Romine to deliver against a New Hampshire team that is 16-7 against the Thunder this season, and that includes a 10-3 mark at Sam Plumeri Sr. Field.
Christian batted .297 with 21 doubles and nine home runs in 87 games. Four of those homers came during the four-game, season-ending homestand against Akron last week.
Taylor Grote will join the Thunder from Single-A Charleston, where the outfielder batted .276 with seven doubles and a pair of home runs.
Pettitte, 38, is 11-2 with a 2.88 ERA in 18 starts this season.


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