Justin Thomas saw the signs welcoming "American Idol" star Crystal Bowersox to Fifth Third Field Friday.
Who could have blamed him if he wondered where were the signs welcoming the Clay High School product back to Toledo for the first time in his professional career?
“The people who are closest to me know I'll be here and will be rooting for me,” Thomas said. “I'm not as big of a deal as she is.
“I'll be able to see all the people I care about, and that's good enough for me.”
Thomas threw a pair of scoreless innings for Indianapolis in last night's game, which the Mud Hens won 7-3. The 6-3, 220-pound left-hander struck out four of the six batters he faced, including Ryan Raburn, Jeff Larish, and Jeff Frazier – the middle of the Toledo batting order – in the seventh.
“He's a big, strong kid who threw well,” Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said of Thomas. “It was our first time to see him, but he sure looked good.”
Thomas said he was looking forward to pitching close to home after spending the first five years of his pro career with Seattle. Thomas, a fourth-round pick of the Mariners in 2005, had not pitched near Toledo since spending time with Wisconsin in the Midwest League at the start of 2006.
Thomas was claimed off waivers by the Pirates this past off season.
By the time Thomas entered last night's game, the Mud Hens already had built a huge lead.
Toledo scored three times in the first inning thanks to RBI doubles by Raburn and Larish as well as a run-scoring single by Max Leon.
Ben Guez led off the second inning with his first Triple-A home run, a shot high off the scoreboard in left, and Raburn doubled home Brent Dlugach for a second run that inning.
The Hens then got back-to-back doubles from Raburn and Larish, then a two-out single by Max St-Pierre for a pair of runs in the fifth. Raburn tied a Fifth Third Field record with his three doubles on the night.
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