Newest team member Thomas Hatch found out about the trade while visiting underground attraction.
MANCHESTER — Of all the places he could’ve been, Thomas Hatch was in a cave when he found out he had been traded from the Chicago Cubs to the Toronto Blue Jays on July 30.
He was with his parents in Chattanooga, Tenn., exploring Ruby Falls, a 145-foot high waterfall located underground within Lookout Mountain when Cubs Vice President Jason McLeod called.
“He just said, ‘Hey, we traded you. You’re going to the Blue Jays,’ and it was exciting,” Hatch said following the Fisher Cats’ 5-1 loss to the Akron RubberDucks on Thursday. “Sad to leave some friends behind, but yeah I went down into this cave and didn’t have any service and didn’t get to hear from anybody for about an hour when I was down there. We got up, made some calls, went back to Knoxville to pack my stuff, and got on a flight (to Akron) the next day.”
The Fisher Cats were wrapping up a three-game series in Akron when Hatch joined the team, one day before they had to travel to Erie for a three-game set against the SeaWolves. It was in that series that he made his debut with New Hampshire, pitching four innings while allowing four runs on six hits. Having been traded three days earlier, a less-than-perfect start was expected.
He looked much better in his second outing Thursday despite being saddled with the loss, tossing 5⅓ innings with six strikeouts while limiting the RubberDucks to two runs on four hits.
“It’s all been kind of a rush,” Hatch said. “I kind of had to pack up and just get here in a hurry, but the team’s been good to be around. It was fun to get out there and pitch on the home mound.”
Everything has been a work in progress since he arrived and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Hatch has been a Fisher Cat for just over a week and hasn’t really been able to get down to business with pitching coach Vince Horsman due to the small sample size.
“Right now he’s just seeing what I got,” Hatch said. “I think I’m only at, what, 9⅓ innings with them so far. Going forward I’m sure they’ll see some stuff and will make some tweaks. But right now, I think they’re just taking a look and seeing where we go from there.”
Until then, Hatch is just looking forward to spending more time within his new organization. While he enjoyed his time with the Cubs, he understands the trade is just part of the business.
“Obviously the Cubs are buyers right now and they’re in this window of opportunity where prospects necessarily aren’t their priority,” he said. “I don’t take it personally. I’m excited that the Blue Jays wanted me and see something in me and I’m excited for the opportunity to be here.”
Christian Williams had three singles in New Hampshire’s nine-hit attack on Thursday. The Fisher Cats scored their run in the fifth inning on Kevin Smith’s single that scored Josh Palacios (double).