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Aceves, El Duque Find Themselves in Trenton

By Jed Weisberger ~ August 14th, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, Yanks Minors.

TRENTON, N.J. – What are the odds Alfredo Aceves and Orlando (El Duque) Hernandez would find themselves in Waterfront Park on a Friday night in August?

In that unpredictable world known as Minor League Baseball, it can happen.

Aceves, 27, was in Thunder attire, starting a five- or six-day rehab with the Yankees’ Double-A farm team. Hernandez, listed at 44, is attempting his latest comeback with the Washington Nationals and is presently with the Double-A Harrisburg Senators.

Both were welcomed warmly by a Waterfront Park crowd of 6,345 who watched a 4-1 Trenton win.

Aceves, who has been on the disabled list since May 12 with back issues, threw 26 pitches in a scoreless first and second.

“The big thing was my back didn’t hurt,’’ said Aceves. “I didn’t feel anything. That’s what I was looking for tonight.’’

He mixed his pitches and threw strikes when he needed to.

“I need to get my work in,’’ Aceves said. “I’ll be here for five or six days, make one or two more appearances.’’

Among those evaluating Aceves’ performance was Yankees Minor League Pitching Coordinator Nardi Conteras. Aceves fared better than Andy Pettitte yesterday in his quest to return to the active roster.

“I know what Andy’s going through,’’ said Aceves.  “A strained groin like that is tough. I’ve been through that at times.  It’s not easy.’’

Thunder manager Tony Franklin, who had Aceves in 2008, when he was 2-2, 1.80 in seven starts, thought he was effective.

“Alfredo pitched like he always did, just went out there and got people out,’’ said Franklin. “He’s on the road back.’’

Since he was placed on the 60-day DL, a move will have to be made when Aceves returns,

As for Hernandez, who last pitched in the majors for the Mets in 2007, recording a 9-5, 3.72 mark, has as much mound guile as he did during his 1998-2000 glory years with the Yankees. He unleashed his Eephus Pitch on unsuspecting Yankees prospect Corban Joseph while tossing a scoreless ninth.

“I didn’t know what that (Eephus Pirch) was,’’ said Joseph, of the blooping, 46 mph delivery that was a called strike. “I never saw anything like that. I thought it slipped.’’

Contreras quipped that “was the pitch I threw’’ during his brief big-league career.

“I never saw El Duque growing up,’’ said Joseph, who grew up in Franklin, Tenn., and was recently promoted from Class-A Advanced Tampa.  “Now I’ll never forget.’’

Two pitches later, Joseph, to his credit, singled solidly to left.

At 44, El Duque certainly still has enough to get Double-A hitters out. Maybe even enough to return to the majors.

“We really don’t know what plans the Nationals have for him,’’ said Harrisburg radio voice Terry Byrom.  “It’s obvious he can still be effective.’’

Just ask Joseph.

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.
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