“Big Thurm” looking to turn it around with Revs; York wins slugfest over ‘Stormers

LAKELAND, Fla. — Corey Thurman admits it. Sometimes when he’s out on the mound, he gets so fired up that he feels like a bull in a china shop.

Who can blame him? This is the same guy who used to crack heads on the high school football gridiron playing in Texas. He was even recruited by Texas A & M, Louisiana Tech and Tennessee before deciding to pursue baseball. He has a size 15 shoe. And the Revs’ roster lists him at 6-foot-1, 215 pounds. Wait, this just in: that’s just the weight below the waste. Thurman looks more like a chiseled 250.

So it’s this man that the York Revolution will depend on as one of the rocks of the 2008 starting rotation. And from all signs so far, Thurman appears to be more than up to the task.

Plus, he’s a pretty smart guy. He knew even at 17 years old that a future in baseball was much brighter than one in football.

“Being in Texas, football is king. You get recruited and I was a linebacker, but as much as I like to crack heads the longevity just wasn’t there,” Thurman said. “You can play into your 40s in baseball and you can’t do that in football — unless you’re Warren Moon, you know? The average life of a football player is five years. In baseball, if you get to that (top) level, you’re going to be able to play for awhile.”

Thurman was a Rule 5 selection by the Toronto Blue Jays after spending 1996 to 2001 with Kansas City. It turned out to be a great move, however. Thurman reached the big leagues with Toronto in 2002 and pitched in 43 games while posting a 4.37 ERA. But the next year, the number of appearances went down to six as he dealt with his first bout of arm trouble.

It got to the point where the Augusta, Ga. native couldn’t even play catch. That’s when he had rotator cuff surgery in ’04.

“I tried to rehab without having surgery and it just got worse,” Thurman said. “The shoulder is one of those things I needed to get fixed. I felt I couldn’t do what I wanted to do on the mound without having something done.”

Now, Thurman is in camp with York and it seems like he knows just about every person there. I’m talking about coaches, players on the other Atlantic League teams, even the guys who water down the field. So it appears Thurman will be one of the more relaxed and talkative guys on the team.

He’s also trying to figure out everyone’s nickname. With four Matts on the roster (Matt Trent, Matt Dryer, Matt Padgett and Matt Esquivel), that’s not a bad idea. Corey goes by “Thurm” or “Big Thurm.” I think manager Chris Hoiles will be using the latter.

“He is one big boy,” the Revs’ skipper said.

Revs improve spring training win streak to 7: Now this is what the Atlantic League is supposed to look like. York pounded out 15 hits on the way to beating rival Lancaster 15-8 on Friday at Mickey Cochrane Field.

Kenny Perez hit a grand slam, Keoni De Renne had three hits including a triple and Travis Ezi was 2-for-6 with a three-bagger of his own. Matt Esquivel, Matt Dryer and Kaz Tanaka also added two hits apiece.

The Revs scored six runs in the first and third, and the only blemish of the day was some shaky pitching. Pete Munro was lit up for five earned runs in his two innings and Corey Thurman gave up three earned runs despite earning the win in two frames. The rest of the pitching looked decent, with Aaron Rakers, Nick McCurdy, Reid Price and Dave Veres all making appearances without giving up a run.

See today’s box below, courtesy of WSBA broadcaster Darrell Henry:

Travis Ezi 2-6, 3B, 2R, 2RBI, SB
Keoni De Renne 3-3, 3B, 3RBI, 2R, SB
Matt Esquivel 2-4, 2B, 2RBI, R
Matt Padgett 1-3, RBI, R
Matt Dryer 2-5, 2B, RBI, 2R
Jason Aspito 0-4, BB, R
Kenny Perez 1-4, HR, 4RBI, 2R
Sandy Aracena 1-2, 2B, 2R
Kaz Tanaka 2-4, 2RBI, 2R
Jose Enrique Cruz 0-2, BB
Kevin Kotch 0-2
Luis Taveras 1-2, 2B

Pete Munro 2.0IP, 5R, 5ER, 5H, 2BB, 3K
Corey Thurman (W) 2.0IP, 3R, 3ER, 3H, BB, 2K
Aaron Rakers 2.0IP, 0R, 2H, 0BB, 3K
Nick McCurdy 1.0IP, 0R, 0H, 0BB, 0K
Reid Price 1.0IP, 0R, 1H, 0BB, 3K
Dave Veres 1.0IP, 0R, 1H, 0BB, 1K

*Photo by Dispatch photographer Bill Kalina.


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