Jagielo Playing The Waiting Game

TRENTON, NJ - At this point in time, the status of Trenton Thunder third baseman Eric Jagielo regarding his return to the team from a left knee injury remains up in the air.

Jagielo, who was batting .284 with nine home runs and 35 RBI in 58 games this season with the Thunder, suffered the injured the injury on June 16th sliding home. Thunder manager Al Pedrique is still not sure how long Jagielo will remain on the shelf even after more than a month of not playing.

“At this point, he’s still rehabbing,” Pedrique said. “I don’t think the people in Tampa have made a decision on him if he’s going to continue the rehab or if he’s having surgery. As far as I know, he’s still rehabbing in Tampa.”

He doesn’t know the progress of his rehab either, saying that he doesn’t know if the knee has gotten better or worse since going to Tampa to try and get it better, hoping that surgery is still not an option.

For what seemed to be a relatively minor injury at first, things haven’t looked up for the former Yankees first round draft pick. He was making progress on his recovery until there was a setback and had to be reevaluated again according to his manager.

“It first happened when he slid home on one play,” Pedrique said when asked about the injury. “It was getting better. He started doing some running and then we were in Richmond when his knee locked on him again and I think that’s when it got worse. So that’s when they decided to shut him down and do more tests. I was kind of surprised because he started running little by little and he had a setback. Now we have to wait on how long it’s going to take.”

Unfortunately, injuries isn’t a new topic with Jagielo. He was injured last year with a strained oblique that cost him a couple of months. Thunder hitting coach P.J. Piliterre notes how frustrating it is for a guy like Jagielo to go down like that as well as for the team.

“It’s tough for us as a team, but obviously it’s probably tougher for him as a player, especially since he was having a successful year in a new challenge and a new league, and he was performing well, performing to his capabilities,” Piliterre said. “I’m sure it’s really frustrating for him. It’s just a road bump for the time being and he’s going to have to take care of it and get that knee right, and once he’s healthy enough he can pick up right where he left off.”

Pedrique said that Jagielo is going through a similar scenario he had last year when he was playing well before being injured for a moderately significant amount of time. He had six hits in his last 18 at-bats in the last five games before his most recent injury.

There was even some chatter about him possibly ending up in Triple-A at some point this season if he continued to play as well as he did and stayed healthy. Now the question is not when he’ll come back this year, it's if he is going to return to play this year at all. Pedrique’s not knowing how his knee is at the moment and no report from Tampa saying that he’s making good progress gives off the impression that Jagielo might ultimately end up having surgery.

The coaching staff might have to already be thinking about next season for the 23-year-old as Pedrique said that Jagielo needs to get his knee 100 percent and see how he does in next Spring Training, something that isn’t really to be said about an injury if there is assurance that will get better before season’s end.

“When he first got injured, he was obviously disappointed,” Pedrique said. “He was having a good year. Finally, he was 100 percent. I had him in Tampa last year and he also got injured there and was swinging the bat well, playing real good for us.

"And now to go through that again, definitely he was very upset at the time and when he was told he was going to Tampa to rehab, I think it got him real bad. Now at this point, we have to wait for him to get healthy and see what happens in next year’s Spring Training.”

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