Friday, December 6, 2013
By AARON BRACY Special to the Telegram
TRENTON, N.J. - Multi-tool players are coveted in baseball.
WHO: Portland Sea Dogs (Chris Hernandez 4-6) at Trenton Thunder (Mikey O’Brien 4-1)
WHEN: 1:05 p.m.
WHERE: Waterfront Park
Rare is the player who excels in hitting, hitting for power, running, fielding and throwing.
It's why Jackie Bradley's performance in his second Double-A game was so impressive Saturday in the Portland Sea Dogs' 8-3 loss to the Trenton Thunder in a doubleheader opener.
The Sea Dogs also lost the second game, 7-6. Portland scored three runs in the top of the seventh to tie before Trenton got a run to win it in the bottom of the inning.
Bradley went 2 for 4 with a double, a triple, an RBI and two runs in the first game, and had a sensational running catch and throw. He then went 1 for 3 with a double and an RBI in the second game.
Bradley was elevated to Double-A on Thursday after tearing up Class A Salem, batting .357 with 26 doubles and a gaudy .480 on-base percentage.
He drove in Portland's first run in the opener with a double just inside the first-base bag in the third, then drove the ball off the wall in right-center for an easy triple in the fifth.
"Just taking it one pitch at a time," said Bradley, who led South Carolina to back-to-back national championships in 2010 and 2011. "You get too far ahead of yourself sometimes. You think at-bat to at-bat. You just have to let it go. Get over it. One at-bat is different from the other. As long as you try to have quality at-bats from at-bat to at-bat, then your approach should be pretty good."
In the second game, he led off the first inning by driving the ball off the glove of shortstop Yadil Mujica and using his speed to turn it into a double most players wouldn't consider. He then stole third and scored on Marquez Smith's single.
In the third inning of the opener, Bradley robbed Melky Mesa of extra bases with a running, over-the-head catch in front of the wall in right-center.
He then uncorked a throw to first baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez that nearly doubled off a runner.
"I just caught it and instinct is the first thing," Bradley said. "I wasn't even thinking about trying to take a step. I knew for sure he didn't think I was going to catch it because he was far off the bag. Instinct was to get it out of my hand as quick as possible and let the infield do what they have to do."
Trenton homered four times off Stolmy Pimentel (1-4), including three straight in the fifth inning.
Pimentel hadn't allowed a homer in 482/3 innings prior to Jose Gil's solo shot with one out in the fourth.
An inning later, Abraham Almonte's two-run shot to left was followed by solo bombs to left by Mesa and Luke Murton.
For Portland and Red Sox fans, those were homers to forget. Bradley's performance, however, was one to remember.
"It's just the beginning," he said, "so I've got to continue to adjust and we'll see where it goes."
NOTES: Anthony Ranaudo, pitching 45 minutes from his hometown of Jackson, N.J., started the second game for Portland and allowed two runs on two hits with four strikeouts and three walks in two innings.