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Saturday, August 23, 2014
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Published: Saturday, 4/30/2005

Rain halts Mud Hens; Hannahan warms up

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Hannahan Hannahan
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LOUISVILLE - Jack Hannahan had a rough initiation to Triple-A baseball, netting just two hits in his first 20 at-bats this season.

But the Mud Hens' third baseman has turned it around since that rough start and will bring a .300 batting average back home with him as the Hens begin an eight-game home stand at Fifth Third Field today.

Yesterday Toledo's scheduled contest at Louisville was postponed by rain. No makeup date has been announced; Toledo will return to Louisville's Slugger Field July 22-25.

Hannahan hit .273 for Double-A Erie last season, his second with the SeaWolves. The previous year Hannahan batted .257 in Erie, a far cry from his days as a collegian when he was the Big Ten player of the year after batting .372 for Minnesota in 2001.

Hannahan said the biggest difference in his swing was in changing the point where he made contact with the ball.

"I've always hit the ball back [in the strike zone] instead of up," he said. "I was always catching the ball deep in the zone, and now I'm catching it out in front of the plate a little bit."

Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said he and batting coach Leon "Bull" Durham have been working with Hannahan to lower the kick of his right, or lead, leg during his stride.

"We want him to stay lower to the ground with his stride foot so he can be on time," Parrish said. "We're also trying to get him in a stronger position, hitting-wise, by getting him to hit the ball out in front of the plate better."

While Hannahan's power numbers haven't improved this season - he's still looking for his first home run - his batting average has taken giant steps forward from that early start.

Hannahan went 13-for-27 in the Hens' first homestand, giving him a .481 home batting average. Among his 13 hits were four doubles; he also had four RBIs and four runs scored in seven games at Fifth Third Field.

In 17 games overall the left-handed hitter has an even .300 batting average with six doubles, six RBIs and six runs scored.

Despite pulling out of that early-season slump, Hannahan knows he still has work to do.

"These are small steps, but I'm feeling more comfortable every day," he said. "I know I started a little slow, but I'm picking it up now."

BYNUM SENT DOWN: Left-handed pitcher Mike Bynum has been sent to Double-A Erie to make room on the Toledo roster for right-hander Andrew Good, who was sent to the Hens yesterday by the parent Tigers.

Detroit sent Good down when it activated IF Ramon Martinez from the disabled list.

Parrish said Good would enter the Mud Hens' rotation in the spot previously occupied by Bynum. Good, who has not pitched since throwing four innings for the Tigers April 20, is expected to start Wednesday against Ind-

ianapolis.

ROTATION SET: Jason Grilli, who was supposed to start yesterday in Louisville, will start tonight in the opener against Columbus. Kenny Baugh will get the start tomorrow versus the Clippers, with Sean Douglass pitching Tuesday in the series opener with Indianapolis.

THREE-DOT DATA: Yesterday's rainout marked the fourth road game the Mud Hens have lost to the weather. Toledo was rained out twice in Charlotte in its season-opening series but made up one of those games before leaving Knights Stadium. The Hens will play the other as part of a doubleheader Aug. 23. The first game of this just-ended road trip in Indianapolis was postponed by cold weather; that contest will be made up as part of a doubleheader Aug. 6. Brandon Harper celebrated his 29th birthday yesterday.

Contact John Wagner at:

jwagner@theblade.com

or 419-724-6481.



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