Cougars' Perakslis relieved in wake of Boston tragedy

Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 5:32 a.m. CDT

GENEVA – Several Cougars scanned a USA Today after Tuesday morning’s rainy-day workout at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark, bantering about coverage of the recent Boston Marathon bombings.

Reliever Stephen Perakslis was in the trainer’s room at the time, but he certainly has had a pulse on the developments after the April 15 tragedy.

A native of Abington, Mass., about 20 miles southeast of Boston, Perakslis learned of the news while the Cougars were en route to Appleton, Wis., to begin a recent road trip. His initial reaction – “This is unbelievable” – made his mission to check on family members and friends all the more frantic.

“It was real scary and real heart-dropping, you know,” Perakslis said. “Everyone’s OK, thank God.”

A handful of Perakslis’ friends and cousins competed in the marathon. He was unsure whether any finished around the time of the bombings, just after the four-hour mark.

On Saturday, Perakslis saw a replay of the impassioned “This is our [expletive] city” speech Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz delivered at Fenway Park in a pregame tribute to victims and survivors of the bombings.

“For him to do that, it got everybody amped up,” Perakslis said. “I think he helped out the city of Boston.”

Rock on: Designated hitter Rock Shoulders was named Midwest League Hitter of the Week for games played April 15 through 21, batting .475 (10 for 21) in six games while homering twice and driving in five runs.

Shoulders boasts hits in 15 of the Cougars’ 16 games this season, and has credited dilgent offseason training throughout his hot start.

“Not much has changed,” he said. “I do the same stuff in the cage every day, stuff like that.”

Bus riders: After an off-day today, the Cougars are set to begin a six-game road trip to Fort Wayne and Lake County (Ohio) as the first wave of Eastern Division play opens Thursday. The 837-mile trip is the club’s longest of the season.

“Coming from [Short-A] Boise, it’s not really anything, with 13-hour bus trips,” catcher Chadd Krist said. “It’s not really a big deal out here.”

Krist was referring to the trip from Boise to Vancouver that many Cougars made while playing in the Northwest League. The Cougars’ second-half trip to South Bend and West Michigan is 466 miles.

Sweet (former) home Chicago: Fort Wayne pitching coach Burt Hooton spent five of his 15 major league seasons with the Cubs. The right-hander threw a no-hitter for the North-Siders against the Philadelphia Phillies on April 16, 1972.

Tin Caps manager Jose Valentin, a former infielder, played on the other side of town, batting .247 for the White Sox in 672 games from 2000-04.

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