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Saturday, November 22, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 6/29/2014 - Updated: 4 months ago

MUD HENS NOTEBOOK

Injuries have derailed Hessman’s HR quest

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

No Mud Hen is happier to see the month of June end than Mike Hessman.

Hessman has fought through an injury-plagued month that allowed him to play in just 10 of the team’s first 26 games and caused him to struggle at the plate.

Hessman entered Saturday’s game against Columbus hitting just .108 with no homers and only one RBI this month. He had just one hit in his last 17 at-bats and only four in his last 40.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever had things snowball on me like this — it has been one thing after another,” Hessman said. “Needless to say, this month has been frustrating.

“I’m just trying to get healthy and stay healthy.”

His problems began in Buffalo June 6 when he was involved in a home-plate collision that originally was reported as a wrist injury, but Hessman said caused problems around his arm.

“It was more the elbow that was giving me issues than the wrist,” he said. “I got a cortisone shot before the last road trip and thought that might clear things up, and it helped significantly.”

On the Mud Hens recent road trip to Charlotte and Gwinnett, Hessman injured his left middle finger swinging at a pitch.

“When I fouled a ball off, I heard a pop,” he said. “After that, my finger was sore, and when I woke up the knuckle on my finger was swollen.

“I think I sprained or strained a ligament.”

While Hessman’s pursuit of the International League home run record has stalled — he remains tied with Ollie Carnegie at 258 IL home runs, a home run he hit May 30 at home against Charlotte — he did reach another Mud Hens milestone on Thursday.

His single against Gwinnett was hit number 521 in his Toledo career, surpassing the team’s modern-day hit record of 520 by Wayne Comer set from 1966-1968 and 1971-1973.

Hessman entered Saturday’s game with a .252 batting average, 14 home runs and 31 RBIs.

Despite not having hit a home run in more than a month, he still is tied for second in the IL in homers.

ROSTER MOVES: RHP Evan Reed joined the Mud Hens Saturday after he was designated for assignment by the Tigers. To make room for Reed on the roster, Toledo sent RHP Bryan Augenstein to Double-A Erie.

The Hens also received LHP Daniel Schlereth after the Tigers acquired him in a trade with Pittsburgh.

That gives the Mud Hens 13 pitchers on the active roster and gives Toledo the International League limit of 25 players.

WORLD CUP FEVER: The Mud Hens will host a viewing party for the U.S. Men’s National soccer team for its contest against Belgium on Tuesday.

Admission is free, and the gates at Fifth Third Field will open at 3:30 p.m. to watch the 4 p.m. match on the scoreboard television screens.

Restaurants at Fifth Third Field, including the BirdCage located behind the press box on the suite level, will be open for the contest.

Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.com, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.



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