Coleman Looking For Strong Finish

PULASKI, VA - Outfielder Kendall Coleman was hoping 2015 was going to be his breakout season but instead he was once hit by the injury bug, breaking his thumb back in Spring Training. Now healthy, he's gotten off to a slow start in short-season Pulaksi but he and his coaches are hoping for a strong finish to what has been a rocky start overall to his season.

“I knew there was nothing I could do about it, and I couldn’t really be that upset.” Coleman said of the Spring Training injury. “I broke it playing hard which is what I was taught to do; keep my head down and play forward, try to play well and consistently.”

He has sustained multiple injuries throughout his early career. The most recent, a broken thumb occurred during Coleman’s first Spring Training game, halting his season not only once again but really before it ever began.

“I was shut down completely for six weeks," he said. "Then I got my cast off and splint. I started to swing a little bit, and catch; catching was the hardest part."

Coleman got a chance to play in games over the last four weeks of Extended Spring Training in an effort to get ready for the short-season leagues.

“In Extended [Spring Training] I felt really good," he said. "I felt comfortable. At first I started slow, then I just started to find my groove. While you’re rehabbing you have to keep everything going, not just shut down completely.

“When I broke my thumb I kept my lower body in shape, so this made things much easier, getting back into it. In about a week or so I started to get back into my groove.”

He hasn't yet found his groove in Pulaski, however. Through his first nine games he has just two hits [a 0.69 average]>, although both hit are extra-base hits [one home run, one triple]. He isn't playing scared though. He isn't about to change his style of play merely due to the injuries he has sustained early on in his career.

His focus is on the field and this season he wants to prove to himself and fans what he is capable of.

“I can’t worry about getting hurt," he exclaimed. "I know if I play hard, get my work done throughout the day, I feel like I’m going to do well. I’ve been waiting, hopefully this is it. I’m excited.”

It's still very early in the season and one great game could skew the numbers right back in his Coleman's favor, and it's why nobody is panicking just yet. Manager Tony Franklin, who has seen more than his fair share of quality prospects over the years when he served as manager of the Double-A Trenton Thunder for eight seasons, sees potential in him and hopes this season can be Coleman’s breakout year.

“I think everybody’s got a lot of hope for Kendall," Franklin said. "He brings to the game some very good features; he runs well, he has potentially home run power, he’s good defensively, he’s a good athlete. He’s got some things that were looking for.

“I expect for Kendall the same thing I expect from everybody, let’s see how better we can be at the end of the season than we are at the start.

“I think he’s ready to go and find out what he’s all about," Franklin continued. "I think he’s looking for the opportunity to play. It’s no big fun to be on that bench and not playing.”

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