Infielder Brian Finegan was struggling offensively through the first month of the season - that is until he got a fire lit under him in facing his old teammates.
Finegan, a former Indians minor leaguer who was released in spring training and picked up by the Pittsburgh Pirates, began to find his stroke just as rivals Altoona and Akron began to face each other recently.
The teams met each other for the first time this season in Altoona April 21-23 and find themselves matched up again in a series at Canal Park Monday through Thursday.
Batting just .136 overall in 18 games with the Curve, five of Finegan's hits have come against the Aeros - including a 3-for-4 effort that went for naught as the Aeros topped the visitors 9-4 Monday at Canal Park.
After singling in his first two at-bats against former Class-A Kinston teammate and pitcher Kevin Dixon, Finegan (the Indians 15th selection in the 2004 draft), tried to start a two-out rally with another single in the eighth against another former Kinston mate in right-hander J.D. Martin.
When the Altoona rally was short-circuited, the Aeros responded with a seven-run eighth inning to come-from-behind and put the game away for good.
Ironically, on the other end of a similar situation as Finegan, is current Aeros utility man Brandon Chaves - a former four-year Altoona player who signed as free agent in the off season with the Indians.
"It was really weird facing them the first time in Altoona,'' Chaves said. "But that's just the way baseball is.''