South Jersey Baseball:
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
By Dan Loney
The Eastern League and the Trenton Thunder, Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, announced today that IF Aaron Rifkin, RHP David Shepard, OF Kevin Reese and RHP Javier Ortiz have been named to the Northern Division Team for the Eastern League All-Star game to be played in Bowie, MD on July 14th.
Two players from each Eastern League team were chosen through voting by fans at ballparks and Rite Aid stores in the region. The remaining players were chosen by the Eastern League President’s office. For the Thunder, Aaron Rifkin and David Shepard earned the fan votes while Kevin Reese and Javier Ortiz were chosen by the league office.
“Each of these players deserve to play with the best in the league,” said Thunder General Manager Rick Brenner. “We’re proud of them and wish them the best of luck.”
Rifkin is batting .249 this year with 10 home runs and 46 RBI. The 6’3’’ 220lb first baseman was named the Eastern League’s Player of the Week for the week ending May 23rd after hitting .462 with 2 doubles during the seven-day stretch. The twenty-five year old was selected by the Yankees in the 4th round of the June 2001 draft and last year was voted the 2003 Thunder Fan Favorite.
Shepard, who is among the league leaders in saves (10), has an ERA of 1.82. This is Shepard’s second consecutive All-Star season posting a 2.82 ERA with 12 saves for the Thunder in 2003. Making appearances out of the Thunder bullpen, the 6’1” right-hander has put together a 2-3 record allowing only 10 runs in 34 innings pitched.
Reese is hitting .295 with 93 hits and 56 runs scored in 75 games for the Thunder. The 5’11’’ 190 lb outfielder is among the league’s leaders in runs scored, hits and stolen bases, while leading the league in extra-base hits (45) and doubles (35). Reese needs just one double to break the Trenton record set by Shea Hillenbrand in 2000, and is on pace to break the Eastern League’s 80-year-old record of doubles in a season (54).
Ortiz, the Eastern League’s Pitcher of the Week for the week ending May 30th, has a 6-4 record with a 3.73 ERA. The right-hander has made 15 starts with one complete game, and is among the Eastern League’s leaders in both shutouts and innings pitched. Ortiz was signed by the New York Yankees as a non-drafted free agent on July 2, 1996.
Below are the 2004 statistics for Rifkin, Shepard, Reese, and Ortiz:
The Thunder take on the Bowie Baysox tonight in the final game of a three game series. The team will return to Waterfront Park on Tuesday, July 6th to face the Portland Sea Dogs.
|©2004 South Jersey Sports Online Inc.