NILES — Mahoning Valley Scrappers infielder Jeff Hehr has been playing baseball for about as long as he’s been walking. And although he’s missed a few games with aches and pains, he’s never had a stretch where he was injured.
Until last week.
Hehr, a Mooney High graduate, saw action in his second straight game Friday night after missing more than a week with a hamstring injury.
“It’s good to get back,” said Hehr, who started and played five innings in the Scrappers’ 7-1 loss to the Jamestown Jammers in front of 4,424 fans at Eastwood Field. “This is the first time I’ve been hurt and I just wanted to get out there and play.”
Hehr started at second base Thursday night, playing two innings and going 0-for-1. He went 0-for-2 through five innings Friday before being lifted.
“Hopefully there’s no side effects and he’s good to go,” said Scrappers manager Tim Laker. “We’re hoping he can play nine innings [today]. That’s the plan.”
Hehr, who was drafted by the Indians out of Eastern Michigan last month, has been working with the team’s trainer, trying to do as much as he can without overdoing it. On road trips, he got to the park early and worked out. The worst part was having to sit and watch while his new teammates were playing.
“It’s a new team and new guys and I wanted to play,” he said. “I’m just trying to take it day by day.”
Other than the injury, Hehr has enjoyed his first season of pro baseball.
“Yeah, it’s been a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s been everything I expected. I’m having a great time.”
Tough to watch
Well, for the most part anyway.
Friday’s first inning wasn’t much fun.
Left-hander Kelvin De La Cruz, who was called up earlier in the week from the Gulf Coast League, got shelled in his first start, surrendering six runs in 1⁄3 inning.
He walked the first three batters — five in all — and Jamestown managed to take a 6-0 lead despite putting just two balls in play (a single and a flyout) in the inning.
When asked if he had seen anything like it, Hehr shook his head.
“No, that’s a first,” he said.
James Brettl relieved De La Cruz (0-1) and allowed all three baserunners to score, but he kept the damage under control. He eventually went 32⁄3 innings, giving up one run on four hits with five strikeouts and a walk.
The Scrappers scored their lone run in the sixth without the benefit of a hit. With two outs, Cristo Arnal and Nick Petrucci reached on back-to-back walks and Mark Thompson was hit by a pitch to load the bases. With Juan Valdes batting, Arnal scored on a wild pitch.
Valdes then struck out swinging to end the threat.
“It’s tough to come back from six runs in the first inning,” said Laker. “I think we lost our concentration out there.”
Mark Rodrigues pitched four innings of shutout relief, striking out three and walking three, and Nathan Bunton pitched a scoreless ninth for the Scrappers (8-10), who had won two straight games.
“Rodrigues threw the ball the best we’ve seen him,” said Laker.
Valdes, Justin Jenkins and Arnal had the only three hits for Mahoning Valley. Torre Langley led Jamestown (6-12) with two hits, an RBI and a run scored.
Kevin Hammons (1-0) gave up a run in an inning of relief to get the victory.
Curry dh3102Valdes cf2010
Silverio ph1000Jenkins ph-rf2010
Piste ss4100Infante 3b5000
Peterson cf-rf4110Castillo c2010
Langley c5121Flores ph-c1000
Antsbrgr 3b3010Martin dh4000
Waters 3b1000Brown rf-cf4000
Jacobs rf-lf4101Douglas lf3000
Hickman lf1101Hehr 2b2000
Dunn cf2000Arnal 2b1100
Lasater 1b3120Petrucci 1b2000
Martinez 2b4000Thompson ss2000
E—Infante 3 (4). DP—Scrappers 1. LOB—Jamestown 12, Scrappers 10.
Hammons W, 1-0101131
De La Cruz1-316650
WP—Badgley, Brettl 3. HBP—by Hammons (Thompson), by Brettl (Curry). Umpires—Home, Shea Gipson; Bases, Matt Neuhold. T—3:14. A—4,424.
HOW THEY SCORED
Jammers 1st — Curry walks. Piste walks, Curry to 2nd. Peterson walks, Piste to 2nd, Curry to 3rd. Langley singles to center, Curry scores. Anetsberger flies out (F-8). With Jacobs batting, Piste scores on wild pitch, Peterson to 3rd, Langley to 2nd. Jacobs walks. Hickman walks, Peterson scores, Langley to 3rd, Jacobs to 2nd. Lasater walks, Langley scores, Jacobs to 3rd, Hickman to 2nd. Curry hit by pitch, Jacobs scores, Hickman to 3rd, Lasater to 2nd. With Piste batting, Hickman scores on wild pitch, Lasater to 2nd, Curry to 2nd. Piste pops out (PO-6). 6 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 2 LOB.
Jammers 3rd — Hickman strikes out looking. Lasater singles to right. Martinez reaches on fielding error (E-5), Lasater to 3rd. Curry reaches on throwing error (E-5), Lasater scores, Martinez to 2nd. Piste strikes out swinging. Petersen strikes out looking. 1 run, 1 hit, 2 errors, 2 LOB.
Scrappers 6th — Brown grounds out (6-3). Douglas grounds out (6-3). Arnal walks. Petrucci walks. Thompson hit by pitch, Arnal to 3rd, Petrucci to 2nd. With Valdes batting, Arnal scores on wild pitch. 1 run, 0 hits, 0 errors, 2 LOB.