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Yankees, Thunder extend affiliation

08/30/2012 3:37 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

The new extension will keep the Yankees and Thunder affiliated through 2022.(Josh Norris/Trentonian)
Less than 48 hours after clinching a spot in the 2012 Eastern League playoffs, the Trenton Thunder clinched their spot in the Yankees organization for the next decade.

On Thursday afternoon, Yankees COO Lonn Trost and Senior VP of Baseball Operations Mark Newman joined Thunder President Joe Finley to announce that the Yankees and Thunder had signed an eight-year extension on their Player Development Contract, meaning that Trenton will remain the franchise’s Double-A affiliate until at least 2022.

“We are lucky and thankful to be a part of the Yankees family," Finley said after announcing the deal.

The Trenton franchise came to be in 1994, when the then London (Ontario) Tigers moved to New Jersey’s capital. The Thunder were a Tigers affiliate in 1994 and the Red Sox’ Double-A squad from 1995-2002, becoming a Yankees farm team in 2003 when the Bombers relocated their operations from Norwich, Conn.

Since then, many past and present Yankees stars have come up through Trenton, with Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter, Joba Chamberlain, and now Pedro Feliciano among the rehabbing Major Leaguers who have worn the Thunder’s pinstripes in the last few seasons.

"Without Trenton, we wouldn't have players such as our second baseman," Trost said in reference to Robinson Cano, who played in Trenton in 2004 and also rehabbed there in 2006.

Trenton’s PDC with the Yankees was set to expire after the 2014 season, and the eight-year extension may be one of the longest in Minor League history. In relation to that, Yankees GM Brian Cashman joked during the press conference that “we gave the Thunder a longer deal than CC (Sabathia),” and later gave the Thunder some very high praise.

“I consider (Trenton) the best Minor League operation in all of sports,” Cashman said. “This is home.”

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