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Sublett Getting Hits in Some Key Spots



By Jed Weisberger ~ April 19th, 2010. Filed under: Yanks Minors.

During spring training, 24-year-old Damon Sublett knew what he had to accomplish.

Play well enough to earn a roster spot with the Trenton Thunder, the Yankees’ Double-A Eastern League farm team.

The native of Wichita, Kan., who was taken in the seventh round of the 2007 draft after starring at hometown Wichita State, made it to New Jersey.  He was then promptly was sidelined for several games with a bad head cold. Derek Jeter, you had company.

“I don’t know what it is,’’ said Thunder manager Tony Franklin. “Maybe it was coming up from Florida, the hot weather, then the cold, but a lot of guys fought through it.’’

The Yankees did their share, bolting out of the gate 9-3. So did their Double-A farmhands, rolling to a 7-3 start.

Sublett spent much of the Thunder’s home stand literally at home, unable to contribute.

“It wasn’t good,’’ he said. “That’s the last thing I wanted.’’

Sublett, who switched from second base to the outfield while batting .270 (107-for-397) for the Florida State League T-Yanks in 2009, built a reputation as a performer who came through in key situations last season.

He’s doing just the same for the Thunder , after regaining his health, so far in 2010. His seventh-inning home run last Wednesday gave Trenton a 4-3 win over Akron in Waterfront Park, while his two- run blast the next night gave Trenton a 4-2 win over Portland in Hadlock Field.

Sublett is batting just .211 (4-for-19) after the truncated start of his season, but his two game-winners have earned notice.

“Damon will hit,’’ said Franklin. “No doubt about it.’’

What the Yankees want Sublett, who pitched in relief in college, to do, is work on improving his outfield play. He has good speed, obviously a strong arm, and his routes to the ball are ever-improving.

He’s coachable and willing to work.

“The key thing for me this season is becoming a better outfielder,’’ Sublett said. “I like playing out there and I know what I have to do to continue to get better.’’

That head cold may have slowed him down last week, but Sublett is certainly on his way to making his mark.

OTHER YANKEES SYSTEM HIGHLIGHTS

SCRANTON – Shortstop Eduardo Nunez is having no problem handling International League pitching, batting .351 (13-for-37). He needs to solidify his shortstop play at Triple-A this season.  Righty Mark Melancon  (2-0, 1.00) has allowed one earned run in nine innings of relief.

TRENTON – Second baseman David Adams continues to rake at .368 (14-for-38). Righty Ryan Pope, using a faster delivery, is 0-0, 1.80 after two starts with 10 strikeouts in 10 innings.

TAMPA – Outfielder Abraham Almonte, who should earn some Double-A time later this season, has his average at .306 (11-for-36). Righty Hector Noesi is overpowering FSL hitters with a 2-0, 1.50 mark and strikeout-walk ratio of 16-1 after 12 innings. Teammate Manny Banuelos is sidelined after an appendectomy, while Andrew Brackman is again struggling at 0-2, 13.50 after surrendering 12 earned runs in eight innings.

CHARLESTON – Outfielder Taylor Grote is off to a .303 (10-for-33) start. Righty Kevin Perez (1-0, 0.66) has looked sharp in two starts and has a 13-1 strikeout/walk ratio.

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Jed spent 35 years in the newspaper business working as both a writer and editor, in both sports and news under tight deadline pressure. As both sports editor at the Indiana (Pa.) Gazette and a copy editor/columnist at The Times of Trenton, he made daily decisions on overall coverage and designed and produced thousands of pages and special sections. Since accepting a buyout from The Times, he has concentrated on broadening his writing and editing horizons to the medical, academic and business fields. Anyone is welcome to Google Jed to see the different places in print, on the Web and in front of the camera his professional expertise has spread to.

2 Responses to Sublett Getting Hits in Some Key Spots

  1. Stu Baron

    How much of a prospect is Sublett? He’s not in Baseball America’s Top 100…

  2. Jed

    Stu:

    Baseball America had him listed as a second baseman, a position he switched from in July last season.
    He has a strong arm, quick bat and hits in the clutch. A lot more will be known about his future after his Double-A season.

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