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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, May 09, 2017 12:30 am

TinCaps anticipating boost from Ona's return

CHRIS GOFF | The Journal Gazette

Jorge Ona munched on a slice of pizza Monday night as he waited on the notoriously slow elevator outside the TinCaps' clubhouse.

Smiling and pacing, the 20-year-old Cuban slugger said he felt good after returning from the disabled list in Fort Wayne's 2-0 loss to Wisconsin at Parkview Field. Though Ona went 0 for 4, everyone was happy for him to see his first action since April 21.

Before suffering a strained quadriceps while running out a grounder at Great Lakes, Ona had arguably been the TinCaps' top hitter, batting .305 with one homer and eight RBI through 63 at-bats.

Upon his return, Ona was immediately inserted into the No. 3 spot in the order by manager Anthony Contreras, who believes Ona could provide a significant lift to a struggling team.

"He was one of our leading hitters before he got hurt, and to have him back in the lineup is huge," Contreras said. "It kind of expands the lineup a little bit. A lot, I should say. Creating length with another solid bat is big for these guys."

The TinCaps (11-20) are averaging just 3.7 runs per game.