TRENTON – Powered by dominant pitching from Erik Swanson and dominant hitting throughout the lineup, the Trenton Thunder defeated the Harrisburg Senators 9-0 on Friday night.
The Thunder welcomed Yankees third baseman Brandon Drury to the team on Friday night as he continues his rehab assignment after suffering migraines and vision problems that put him on the disabled list on April 7th.
Drury said that the last time his vision was clear was in 2011 when he was playing for the Danville Braves, the Atlanta Braves rookie-level team. That year, Drury took home Appalachian league MVP honors.
“Vision-wise, I’m not where I really want to be exactly to be 100 percent ready to play,” Drury said. “But I’m definitely much better than I have been the last couple years, so it’s nice to have that feeling on both sides of the ball to see the ball clearer instead of it being a blur.”
Drury has spent the last eight games playing for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barrie RailRiders, hitting .385 and scoring six runs in 26 at-bats at Triple-A.
“It feels good, it feels good to get back out there,” Drury said. “It’s nice to see what we’re working on and it’s taking me a step in the right direction, just got to keep doing that and attack that treatment every day and I hope to be out there soon.”
Drury was acquired by the Yankees from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-team deal on February 20. Last season, Drury hit .267, with 13 home runs and 63 RBI’s in 445 at-bats on a Diamondbacks team that reached the NLDS before falling to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Prior to going on the DL, Drury was hitting .217 with one home run, and four RBI’s in 23 at-bats and was the everyday third baseman.
“I’m feeling better,” Drury said. “Definitely still have room to improve to where I want to be but we’re getting some answers now on what do we need to work on to get better so at this point, I’m kind of waiting and doing what I can to control what I can control as far as getting back on the field in the big leagues.”
Drury was one of the many Thunder hitters to contribute in the lineup on Friday night as every batter reached base.
The Thunder exploded for 12 hits and scored eight of their nine runs in the first three innings, half of which came courtesy of Thunder left-fielder Cesar Diaz as he hit two gapers into right-center field, both scoring a pair.
“They’re starting to stretch their at-bats out a little bit, and they’re putting pressure on the opposing pitcher,” Thunder manager Jay Bell said. “So whenever you’re taking your walks, and you’re putting that pressure on, you’re going to get better pitches to hit, and they’re taking advantage of it.”
Thunder starter Erik Swanson continued his dominance on the mound as he tossed his second straight quality start, going seven innings with four hits, five strikeouts, and no runs.
“I’m just trying to continue what I’m doing,” Swanson said. “Getting ahead of hitters early with my fastball, commanding that fastball and being able to put those guys away when I need to.”
Swanson’s season ERA drops down to 0.65 over 27.2 innings thrown, and his record improves to 5-0 on the year.
“I like what he’s doing,” Bell said. “He’s certainly making a name for himself, to be 5-0 and have an ERA of 0.65, he’s just doing some really good things, and that’s coming from a guy that doesn’t pay attention to stats.”
According to Bell, it looks like Drury will continue to play in Trenton for the rest of the series and then the Yankees will re-evaluate where Drury stands.
“It’s a great team up there,” Drury said, talking about the Yankees. “I need to get back there.”