Clark With Something To Prove

Clark is batting .455 with RISP

TRENTON, NJ - In terms of the amount of footsteps walked or stops along the way, there may not be any paths to professional baseball that compare to the one that Andrew Clark has traveled to get to where he is today. The Trenton Thunder first baseman has been through a lot in the past couple of years.

After getting married in September of 2011, he played with the Texas Rangers in Spring Training just a few months later. He was sent to start the season with the high-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans and decided to unexpectedly retire after two games.

"I got married prior to the season, and going into Spring Training, they started me at high A again which was disappointing, but I understood," Clark said. "I played a few games there and I felt like maybe it was time to do something else.

"The grind I think may have gotten to me a little bit, and I thought I would be better off doing something else."

Instead of playing the game he loved all his life, he had worked countless hours at many different places trying to find a way to make ends meet.

"I did a lot of things," Clark said. "Did contracting with my father-in-law, I was a UPS unloader at night, worked on the back of a garbage truck for about 12 hours a day, and then I did stuff with Nissan. It turned out that doing something else was terrible, I hated it. So lesson learned really."

He finally decided to go back to playing baseball, and started with the Evansville Otters in the Independent League. After hitting .421 in 24 games, the Yankees picked up his contract and he proceeded to Trenton to begin his Double-A career.

"It's just really special and I‘ve just been blessed," Clark said. "Being away from the game of baseball for a year and doing the things that I did just made me miss it a lot.

"It made me realize how special the game was to me. It was a great setup for me in Evansville but to get this opportunity, this was just something I just couldn't pass this up. This is awesome."

In his first eleven games of the season with the Thunder, he is batting .348 with four doubles, two home runs, and eight RBIs.

"He's been a very nice addition to our lineup," hitting coach Justin Turner said. "Picking up a guy out of independent ball who was hitting around .420, he does a lot of things.

"He swings at good pitches, has a quiet approach in the batter's box, he's been around and has played. I don't have any kind of history on him, so it has been a nice surprise for us."

In his second stint in pro ball, he has taken in a different mindset than in his first. Instead of worrying about what will happen to him, he is trying to be more at ease. He wants to enjoy himself out there as if he were playing in his younger days.

"In independent ball, and I got to play with one of my best friends growing up (Deion Williams), and it just made the game a little more fun for me," Clark said. "I've been able to have more fun out there, not really consider this as a job.

"Just consider this being a kid playing the game and have fun. Doing what I did and then being here, I'm just really blessed and I can't really describe it."

The positive energy that Clark has already shown in his time with Trenton and it has translated over to his coaches and teammates. At the same time, he has something to prove now that he has a second opportunity to live out his dream.

"He is very familiar with what this is all about, so I don't think it was a very big transition for him," Thunder Manager Tony Franklin said. "He is certainly aware of what's supposed to happen and he's a guy that has something to prove.

"Generally, when you come here with something to prove you get off to a good start and your focus is there. Hopefully the focus will be there for the rest of the year."

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