ALLENTOWN – If there is one local product that you would wish the most amount of success, it would be Northampton's Brian Schneider.
Schneider, rehabbing his strained left Achilles tendon, came home to play his first game in the Lehigh Valley since he graduated from Northampton High School in 1995.
"I wasn't sure how the leg would react and it was good," Schneider said after his five innings of work.
Although the Northampton product was hitless in his firs two at-bats, Schneider made solid contact driving pitches from Louisville lefty Matt Maloney to the wall.
"I felt comfortable up there and hit some balls hard," Schneider said. "It was good to get in there and see some pitches and get some at-bats. The last lefty I faced was in Spring Training."
The IronPigs did not fare so well. Winning pitcher Maloney pitched six strong innings of three-hit ball as Louisville batted the IronPigs 5-2.
Three relievers aided their starter in sitting down 16 straight IronPigs from the fourth inning through the ninth inning dropping Lehigh Valley to 16-25 on the season.
Schneider is slated to play seven innings today and a full game behind the plate on Sunday.
"I feel good," Schneider said, "My goal is to leave here after three games completely healthy and be ready to be activated on Tuesday."
After completing every test possible, the Phillies brass thought it was time for Schneider to give it a go.
"Three days after my injury I was already catching bullpen," Schneider said. "The question was never catching or hitting, it was running."
Drafted by the Montreal Expos in 1995, Schneider played for the Expos and Nationals through 2007 when he was traded to the Mets. Afer two seasons with the Mets he signed as a free agent by the Phillies this past off-season.
Since he left, there was a major change in the Lehigh Valley baseball landscape with the birth of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
"They did a great job here. The field is beautiful," Schneider said after pre-game activities. "I just wish when I was a kid they had something like this just to watch. Hopefully the kids feel how lucky they are to have this caliber of baseball so close."
Today's game will feature LV sinker-baller Nate Bump (4-1, 2.29) and Tobi Stoner (2-4, 4.83) will pitch for the Mets affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons.
PIG-TAILS: There are only General Admission tickets available for today and Sunday. Get there early if you are planning to attend ... The last time former Phillie product Matt Maloney pitched at Coca Cola Park, former IronPig and current Oakland Athletic Michael Taylor hit for the IronPigs' first cycle ... Despite the recent down turn, the IronPigs are still off to their best start in franchise history ... The IronPig pitching staff is ranked 2nd in the IL in ERA (3.66) ... Flamethrower Scott Mathieson is a perfect 6-for-6 in save opportunities. His ERA is 0.87 as he has given up just 2 runs in 20.1 innings pitched.
- Today's starter Nate Bump is an impressive 11-2, with a 2.34 ERA in his 18 career International League starts.