TRENTON, NJ – Al Pedrique, the manager of the first-place (Eastern Conference East) Trenton Thunder, talked about telling outfielder Taylor Dugas to pack his equipment and get himself from Trenton to Anaheim.
“It was 1 in the morning (after the Thunder notched a 4-3 win in 12 innings over the Altoona Curve, the Eastern League West leaders),” said Pedrique. I told him, “Congratulations, you are going to Anaheim.’ ”
The Thunder (42-36) dropped a 2-0 decision to Altoona Wednesday night as lefty Steven Brault pitched brilliantly, allowing just one hit over seven innings before 4,028 at Arm & Hammer Park. The Thunder dropped into a first-place tie with Reading, who Trenton visits over the holiday weekend.
Not shockingly, Dugas, hitting .198 (32-for-162) between 47 games at Double-A Trenton and seven at Triple-A Scranton), was given the call over some others some fans might think. By the way, Dugas batted .299 (105-for-351) in 2014 between Trenton and Scranton.
“He (Dugas) ddn’t believe me, so I told him again,” said Pedrique. “And I told him a third time. He packed up and was on his way. I hope we see him on TV tonight.
“He’s a good player, and we’re all glad he got a shot, even if his stay is short.”
Dugas, who was the subject of several Twitter mentions, not all of them complimentary, naturally garnered queries from fans.
Reliever Nick Goody, who was named an Eastern League Mid-Season All-Star earier Wednrsday was not surprised Dugas got the call to the big club.
“Dugie is a hustler, is a great clubhouse guy and a good player,’’ the former LSU star said. “We’re all hapoy for him. He just does his job in a professional manner.
“We all can’t wait to hear about it.’’
Goody, and all the Thunder players, are noticing things are moving a bit quicker in the Yankees system this season as compared to the past.
“More guys have been called up,’’ he said. “Guys have been given a chance by the Yankees. Aaron (Judge) went to Triple-A.
“Certainly everyone in this cubhouse has a goal of making the majors, but, as long as I’m here, I want to win an Eastern League championship.’’
OK, so why wasn’t someone other than Dugas given the call this time? Maybe the Yankees found a spot in which they could reward the 25-year-old.
Dugas played well at Scranton in 2014, hittng .305 (53-for-174) in the International League. He was beaten out by Ben Gamel for a Triple-A spot in Spring Training, and ended up back with the Thunder to start the season.
He never hung his head, or complained, or talked about where he ought to be, earning the admiration of his teammates and explaining why they were so glad for him.
“He knows why he’s here,’’ said a Yankees farm official back in April. “He’s really reacting in a professional way and the way he is handling his role is certainly appreciated.’’
In the Yankees system, or any other, such an attitude is appreciated. Dugas may never be a big-leaguer other than the few days he may be with the Yankees. He may end up there as a coach. The Yankees, and every other team, are looking for such players.
This corner as always been and advocate of the numbers and metrics are certainly part of the equation, especially in Dugas’ case this season in which he is scuffling.
Perhaps the Yankees wanted to reward him for the reasons mentioned above. His role in the system is up to debate.
For now, to be quite honest, it’s all good.