Thurston Not Satisfied With Success

Don't be mistaken; Joe Thurston is happy to be playing in the AAA All-Star Game, but all things considered, he'd rather be in Philadelphia. Thurston is putting up numbers that would seem to show that another shot at the majors is warranted.

Had things gone the way the experts predicted, Joe Thurston might have been making his all-star appearance last night instead of tonight. The former Dodgers' prospect was supposed to anchor second base in Los Angeles for a long time, but the experts simply weren't right. Instead, Thurston hit the majors with a bang in 2002, hitting .462 in eight games with the Dodgers and then struggled badly in parts of the next two seasons with Los Angeles. Before he knew it, he was looking for work and wound up in the Phillies organization after a short stay wit the Yankees AAA club.

This season, Thurston has been anchoring second base at AAA Scranton, earning himself a spot on the International League's roster for Wednesday night's AAA All-Star Game in Toledo. The 26 year old is hitting .286 and waiting for a shot at returning to the majors. "I'm happy to be a part of this (the AAA all-star game) and all, but there's no doubt that I want another shot at playing in the majors," said Thurston before Wednesday's game. There have been a couple of times this season when he thought the chances of returning were good, but the call simply never came. "You can't control that. If you let it change how you approach the game then you'll just wind up hurting yourself. I'm happy for the guys that did get the call, but I'm just going to do all I can to be the next one called up."

Since he's still pretty young, Thurston certainly has a chance at returning to the majors and has the right approach to how to get there. He also has a desire to make things happen wherever he is. "It's all about doing what you can to win. Whether it's in Scranton or Los Angeles or Philadelphia or here for this game, you do what you can to win and help your team," explained Thurston.

One of Thurston's former teammates, Chris Coste, did get the call to the majors and Thurston was happy to see him get his shot. "Having been in the majors at a young age, I can't really appreciate everything that he (Coste) went through to get there. I have a lot of respect for him and I hope the next time I see him, it's in Philadelphia and not back in Scranton," said Thurston with a big smile on his face. That smile comes from getting to play a game that he loves and has a great passion for. Not reaching his true goal with the Dodgers didn't dampen his spirits - at least not for long. "I think it took a little while for me to regroup, but now, there's no animosity. I also believe that when I get my next shot, I'll be better prepared," said Thurston. The fact that he would return to the majors in a different situation than when he first hit the show also isn't lost on Thurston. "Maybe I listened to the hype a little too much, but whatever it was, I just wasn't ready and prepared for everything that hit me. That won't be the case next time."

Thurston is the only member of the Red Barons to be playing in the AAA game, although teammate Carlos Ruiz was originally a member of the club, he's now playing for the big league club and won't be with the International League squad. Ruiz stuck with the club even through Mike Lieberthal being activated, as the Phillies opted to send outfielder Chris Roberson back to Scranton and go with three catchers on the roster rather than sending Ruiz back to AAA.


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