Duncan was hitting a paltry .209 with only four extra base hits in 31 games before being placed on the Disabled List on May 13. The official injury that landed Duncan on the DL was several strained muscles and a slightly bulged disc. Before being activated, Duncan played six games down in Extended Spring Training and believes that helped him get the feel of live pitching.
Duncan isn't letting his dismal start get him down and is taking his demotion after the injury as a positive.
"I'm taking this as a positive. I'm just looking forward," said Duncan.
How positive can it truly be for someone haled as the number two prospect by Baseball America to be back in Double-A?
"There's no huge difference between Double and Triple A. It was an opportunity to learn and be around guys who have more experience, but it was definitely positive up there," said Duncan.
The Florham Park, NJ native does admit to having more of a comfort level with this franchise, his teammates, and his manager that may contribute to his ability to turn it around now that he is back in familiar Trenton surroundings. Duncan played his collegiate ball at nearby Seton Hall Prep before becoming the 27th overall pick in the 2003 June Draft.
"I've played with these guys in this clubhouse for three years now and there's a comfort level with Mass [Thunder skipper Bill Masse] and that definitely helps. I get along with Billy and my goal is to help this team win the Eastern League Championship," said Duncan.
Masse hopes Duncan can regain his form as Duncan is only the latest in a long line of last year's Thunder players to return to skipper Masse's club this year. Masse is disappointed in the first baseman's performance and hopes he can rebound.
"This game is a performance business and Eric hasn't performed the we would have liked at Triple-A, like Karstens, Pope, and DeSalvo.
"He's gotta perform, he knows that. This is probably his first setback ever," said Masse.
Duncan denies that the change to first base after playing third base for his entire career had anything to do with his struggles to start the season.
"I felt comfortable [at first]. That change had nothing to do with anything," said Duncan.
The 21-year old also denied his back injuries had anything to do with his poor performance.
"I'm not putting any blame on an injury. No excuses. I'm coming to a team that's hot right now and I just have to do whatever I can to keep the team rolling," said Duncan.
Duncan hopes that his familiarity with Trenton and with the players and coaches will help to right his disappointing season and regain the success he tasted this off-season in the Arizona Fall League. If he hopes to regain his lofty prospect status and any value on the trade market for his parent organization, then his second stint in Trenton may be more important than his first.
Duncan Taking Things In Stride
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