Quin Whalberg, Donnie Cimino done for the summer
NASHUA – Quin Whalberg and Donnie Cimino, we barely knew ye.
The recent high school graduate from Oklahoma and the outfielder who began the summer with the Cape Cod League but ended up with the Nashua Silver Knights have seen their seasons come to an end with injury.
The Knights starting shortstop for the better part of the season’s first month, Whalberg is now back home in Edmond, Okla., recovering from a groin/hip flexor injury that doctors said could take up to six weeks to heal. Thus, it was decided to shut him down as he’s set to attend the University of Oklahoma on a baseball scholarship in the fall.
Whalberg had raised his average to .239 in 14 games after a horrendous start.
“He had something like six hits in three games right before he got hurt,” Currle said on Wednesday, a couple of hours before a scheduled night game with Pittsfield at Holman Stadium was wiped out by rain. “He was hitting in the No. 2 hole and starting to do good things for us. And he was probably our best defensive shortstop. We’re going to have to fill a big hole there.”
Currle said the team is working with newcomer Guy Davidson on his “issues defensively” and he’ll likely take that spot. If he struggles, the team will likely move second baseman Mike Pierson over and find a replacement – likely Harry Oringer – for second.
Cimino, meanwhile, took a fastball off the face during Sunday’s game at Pittsfield, and the Wesleyan University outfielder suffered a broken jaw and had his jaw wired shut on Tuesday. He was hitting .167 in six games, but had already thrown out one base runner on the fly at the plate.
“He’s a good player,” Currle said. “He hit .300 in this league last year (with Martha’s Vineyard).”
Currle said the team won’t be adding another outfielder. Cimino is the second player to suffer a facial injury at Pittsfield. Catcher Brandon Walsh crashed into the backstop a couple of weeks ago and suffered a fractured orbital bone, but is back.
The Silver Knights have added two pitchers to the roster:
First, to fill Whalberg’s allowed high school grad roster slot, the Knights have signed former Con-Val standout Ivan Clough, a right-handed pitcher who is headed to the University of Maine in the fall.
Will he start or relieve?
“We don’t know yet,” Currle said. “We’re going to look at him this week and figure all that out.”
Currle does know that the other pitcher the team added, Will Simon, will come out of the bullpen. Simon, who is from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, played at Jones Community College in Ellisville, Miss.
“He’s a setup-closer type,” Currle said. “Not overpowering but throws a lot of cutters, slider, two-seamers. He’s a good one.”
Currle got Simon through his former boss at Brockton, former Rox manager Judd Thigpen, who has a connection with Jones College.
Southpaw on the mend
Lefty starter Tim Viehoff is at least a few days away from being able to throw due to his sore elbow, Currle said. Thus, when he’s able to pitch, it’s likely he’ll take a spot in the bullpen as Lucas Olen takes the rotation spot for now.
“He started Sunday and did a really nice job,” said Currle of Olen, who is 1-0 with a 0.94 earned run average, and pitched in the 3-2 loss at Pittsfield.
Viehoff, meanwhile, says his elbow had been bothering him since wrapping the spring up at Southern New Hampshire University.
“It had been bothering me since the end of the school season,” he said. “The bullpen is fine with me, I just want to be healthy.”
Rainy day shuffle
With the rainout, Wednesday’s scheduled starter, lefty Tom Hudon (0-2, 6.45) will go in Thursday’s scheduled game versus Seacoast. Mike Geannelis (2-1, 3.50) will go Friday at Pittsfield, while Sam Nepiarsky (2-0, 2.84) and Jake Mellin (0-2, 6.50) will go in the doubleheader (5 and 7 p.m.) on Saturday at Martha’s Vineyard.
The Silver Knights couldn’t use the tarp to cover the infield on Wednesday, as the city had the field fertilized. But Knights GM Ronnie Wallace said the city has assured all efforts will be made to get the infield back in shape for Thursday’s big pre-Fourth Fireworks Night game.
Wednesday’s rained out game with the Suns will be made up as part of a doubleheader on July 29, two seven inning games starting at 5 p.m. and approximately 7 p.m.