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Niese gets rehab start

Lefty Jon Niese will make an injury rehab start for the Buffalo Bisons in today's 2 p.m. game with the Syracuse Chiefs at Coca-Cola Field.

Niese was placed on the New York Mets' disabled list on May 17 with a right hamstring injury. He was 1-2 with a 4.79 earned run average in eight starts with the Mets.

Today's Herd lineup:

SS -- Ruben Tejada
2B -- Justin Turner
1B -- Daniel Murphy
3B -- Mike Hessman
LF -- Mike Cervenak
RF -- Russ Adams
C -- Josh Thole
CF -- Emmanuel Garcia
P -- Jon Niese

--- Amy Moritz

Bulletin: Strasburg pitching Thursday in Buffalo

Stephen Strasburg is coming to Buffalo. The Washington Nationals phenom will pitch against the Bisons Thursday afternoon at 1, going six innings or 95 pitches. Here is our current report.

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo firmed up Strasburg's plan while the big club was in San Diego in reports filed by  the Washington Post and by MLB.com.

8 p.m. update: I keep getting emails and I reiterate that Strasburg is pitching THURSDAY. Channel 4 went on air tonight and still has on its Web site Wednesday, which is what the AP erroneously reported out of San Diego earlier today. The AP has since corrected that story. Hopefully, Channel 4 will soon too.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Still no word on Strasburg

Still no official word from the Washington Nationals about Stephen Strasburg's potential appearance Thursday in Coca-Cola Field against the Bisons. The Syracuse PR staff has instructed the Bisons to list Thursday's starter for the Chiefs as "TBA," which is normal parlance when a team simply does not know who the starter will be.

Strasburg took his first Triple-A loss Saturday in a 3-2 defeat to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before another packed house at Alliance Bank Stadium. I would imagine the Chiefs are trying to convince the Nationals to push Strasburg back a day so he could pitch one more time in the Salt City Friday against Durham rather than throwing in Buffalo. Syracuse Post-Standard columnist Bud Poliquin wrote this morning that the Nationals better seriously consider that as a goodwill gesture to Syracuse.  Point.

Strasburg's ERA is now 1.27 in Syracuse and 1.43 in the minors this year. Still pretty impressive. Who took him deep last night, becoming the first hitter this year to do it? How about journeyman catcher Rene Rivera, a backup with the Bisons last season.

Strasburg's 0.39 ERA through his first four starts with the Chiefs rose to 1.27, and his overall ERA in the minors -- 0.99 entering the game -- shot up to 1.43.

The Bisons open a four-game set with Syracuse Monday at 2. They are wrapping up a four-gamer with Toledo today as Dylan Owen is on the mound. The Toledo starter is 28-year-old lefty Ryan Ketchner, who was born in Wellsville but attended high school in Florida.

Here's the Buffalo lineup:

Jesus Feliciano, cf
Justin Turner, 2b
Daniel Murphy, 1b
Mike Hessman, 3b
Mike Jacobs, dh
Mike Cervenak, lf
Russ Adams, rf
Josh Thole,  c
Ruben Tejada, ss
---
Dylan Owen, p

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Around the horn: Full moon edition

What in the world was in the water Saturday? We had sheer craziness around the big leagues. Check it out.

1). The Indians roared back from a pair of six-run deficits to beat the Yankees, 13-11, in a  game marked by a scary scene as Cleveland pitcher and ex-Bison David Huff took an Alex Rodriguez line drive off the head. The ball ricocheted into right field as a horrified stadium full of fans watched. Huff was driven off in a cart to a hospital and actually returned to the park after the game following a negative CT-scan. Amazing.

Late Saturday night  on his Twitter page, Huff thanked the teams' training staffs and doctors, the Yankees' security staff even A-Rod for calling.

2). Kendry Morales of the Angels broke his leg. That can happen. But while jumping on home plate following a walkoff grand slam?  This Orange County Register column points out how the Angels will celebrate differently from now on.   In the Los Angeles Times, there's plenty of stark quotes from Angels players but the picture of Morales holding his head says as much as any of them.  

3). Then we moved to night. While most everyone in Philadelphia was watching the Flyers game, Roy Halladay was working on history of his own. By the ninth inning,the TVs in the bars were being switched in time to see him complete the 20th perfect game in history, a 1-0 win over the Marlins. Here's MLB.com's recap. It's the first time since 1880 we've had two perfectos in the same season. Yes, 1880. One of them that year by Providence's John Ward was against the Buffalo Bisons!

Great story from the Philly Inquirer about the postgame clubhouse scene.  

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Herd switches around its 'D'

Plenty of defensive switches for the Bisons today as they meet Toledo in the third game of their four-game set. You wouldn't do this in the big leagues but Triple-A clubs often are told by the parent to experiment with players at different positions and that's what we're seeing today.

Jesus Feliciano, whose four-hit night Friday pushed his average to an IL-leading .380, is playing center field today for just the second time this season. Justin Turner, just acquired on waivers from Baltimore, is making his first start at short while Ruben Tejada plays second for just the fourth time. Russ Adams makes his second start in right and J.R. House gets start No. 4 at catcher as Josh Thole gets the day off following a night game. Tobi Stoner is on the mound for the Herd today against Toledo's Enrique Gonzalez.

There's big pitching news elsewhere in the IL as we await any further word on a Stephen Strasburg appearance Thursday in Buffalo. Strasburg goes tonight in Syrause against Scranton, with the Chiefs holding their breath they don't have a rush into Alliance Bank Stadium after a previously schedule general admission giveaway ended up being on Strasburg's night to pitch. In addition, Gwinnett's Todd Redmond threw a no-hitter Friday night in Louisville. It came a month to the day the G-Braves were no-hit by Norfolk's Chris Tillman.

Here's the Bisons' lineup for today's matinee:

Jesus Feliciano, cf
Justin Turner, ss
Daniel Murphy, dh
Mike Hessman, 3b
Mike Jacobs, 1b
Andy Green, lf
Russ Adams, rf
J.R. House, c
Ruben Tejada, 2b
---
Tobi Stoner, p

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Simpson to throw out first pitch

UB president John Simpson will throw out the first pitch during the Bisons game at 7:05 p.m. tonight at Coca-Cola Field. According to the Bisons notes, Simpson played outfielder for Stevenson High School in Carmel, Calif. and still has the baseball glove he bought as an 8th grader: a Wilson A2010 model endorsed by San Francisco Giants pitcher Johnny Antonelli. Simpson grew up rooting for the San Francisco Giants and his favorite player was Willie Mays.

Here is the starting lineup for tonight's game:

Jesus Feliciano, cf
Justin Turner, 2b
Daniel Murphy, 1b
Mike Hessman, 3b
Mike Jacobs, dh
Mike Cervenak, lf
Josh Thole, c
Russ Adams, rf
Ruben Tejada, ss
Dillion Gee, p

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Mets' magic has Phils drawing blanks

Jerry Manuel's job status is suddenly quiet, the pitching is terrific and all is well in Mets land. That's what can happen when you go 5-1 against the Yankees and Phillies. The Mets' 3-0 win last night at Citi Field gave them their first shutout sweep of a three-game series since they blanked-blanked-blanked the Phils way back in 1969!

It was a big day in the New York Post, which blared the headline "Blanks for Coming" at the Phils to go with its game story.

Mike Vaccaro on the Amazins in the Post: "They are a baseball team again, not a traveling circus."

Crazy facts from the Post's Joel Sherman: Rod Barajas leads major league catchers with 10 homers.  R.A. Dickey and Hisonari Takahashi won more games this week against Philly (2) than John Maine and Oliver Perez won overall (1) in 16 starts. At least the Mets fixed the Maine-Perez mistake before Memorial Day. Memo to the Mets: Stop trying to convince Ollie to come to Buffalo!

In the Philly Inquirer, Chase Utley broke out the character building time cliche. Hope so. That's four shutouts in five games. Guess they're not stealing signs anymore. At least not on the road. If they return home and start pounding the ball again, suspicions are really going to be raised.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Hear from Hessman

Hessman Mike Hessman isn't all that impressed with numbers. He's more interested in getting good swings and being patient at the plate, something he's made major strides with this season. That said, the numbers the Buffalo third baseman is compiling are absurd.

Hessman hit two more home runs Thursday, including a walkoff shot in the 10th, as the Bisons beat Toledo, 8-7, at Coca-Cola Field. Pretty hard to believe this one but Hessman said his game-winner was the first walkoff his minor-league career.  And keep in mind he has 327 homers in 15 seasons. No walkoffs? Wow.

Here's the latest rundown of Hessman's stats heading into Thursday night's schedule in the big leagues:

---He has 16 HRs, second in all of pro ball to the 17 by Double-A Jacksonville's Mike Stanton (Toronto's Jose Bautista has 15 for the MLB lead).

---Hessman leads the pros in RBIs with 51 (Class A Lexington's Kody Hinze has 50, Texas' Vladimir Guerrro is the MLB leader with 42).

---Hesssman also leads in extra-base hits with 32 (Philadelphia's Jayson Werth is next with 31).

Get this: The  Bisons' leader in RBIs and extra-base hits last year was Mike Lamb, with 53 and 36, respectively. Hessman has nearly caught those totals. He's nearly halfway to the franchise records for home runs (34) and RBIs (103) set in 1998 by Alex Ramirez and we're only at game 47, not even at Memorial Day.

Crazy. Click below to hear Hessman's postgame meeting with the media Thursday. References to "LP" are to Toledo manager Larry Parrish and "Bull" is Mud Hens hitting coach Leon "Bull" Durham, the former Chicago Cubs star.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington

(Photo: Hessman, 27, celebrates with teammates at home plate Thursday/James P. McCoy-Buffalo News)

More thoughts on Strasburg in Buffalo

The Stephen Strasburg situation is a very fluid one and you should stay on your toes for all that might happen leading to a potential start by the Nationals phenom here next Thursday afternoon at 1.

So should you run out and buy tickets to the Bisons-Syracuse game next Thursday expecting to see Stephen Strasburg pitching for the Chiefs? Might not be a bad speculative move and prospects for a Strasburg appearance grew Wednesday night when the Nationals' Web site said the phenom's big-league debut won't be until the June 8-10 series against the Pirates.

Still, it's far from a lock Strasburg pitches here. First off, he's got to throw Saturday in Syracuse against Scranton, meaning no rain up the Thruway to wreck the Chiefs' rotation and push him back a day. And a couple weeks ago, the Nationals opted to give him an extra day of rest, pushing a start in Pawtucket back a day so he worked in Rochester instead.

The June 3 date is Strasburg's regular rest day. An extra day pushes him back to June 4 -- in Syracuse against Durham. That would be bye-bye, Buffalo. So keep all that in mind.

By the way, in answer to numerous emails already today, the Bisons are not going to move the game from the afternoon to the evening for a variety of reasons. First off, it's far from a lock Strasburg will even be pitching. Here's the other reasons:

1. The game is an SNY telecast and the day slot is what is locked into TV schedules and also what the team has used for its group sales marketing for June 3 as well. (Update: I'm told satellite time, usually an issue in these situations, isn't a biggie here becaue of the Time Warner/SNY relationship allowing the game to be aired via fibreoptics).
2. The Taste of Country concert is the next day at Coca-Cola Field and the team needs the late afternoon and evening of June 3 for setup.
3. The Bisons are heading to Norfolk, Va. right after the game. That's a looooooooong trip to be starting in the midnight range.
4. There's no way the International League would approve a time change simply on the basis of who a potential opposing starting pitcher is.

It's just plain bad luck the potential Strasburg game is a weekday afternoon, folks. Rest assured the Bisons would love for it to be a night game too so they could get a bigger house. But it's going to be played at 1 p.m. Period.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Breakfast with the Bisons

The annual Kids Day at Coca-Cola Field is set for a 10:35 first pitch today as the Bisons open an eight-game homestand against the Toledo Mud Hens. More than 10,000 area schoolchildren are expected to be on hand. Cue the Spongebob Squarepants theme.

 It will be the first home game for Daniel Murphy, optioned from the Mets after a spring training knee injury. It will also be the first game against his former team for Herd third baseman Mike Hessman, who has spent the last five years with the Mud Hens and essentially became the Jeff Manto of Toledo. Hessman had 140 home runs with the Hens -- more than double anyone else in the long history of the Toledo franchise. 

The Mud Hens hit town 1 1/2 games behind Columbus in the IL West. Detroit second baseman Carlos Guillen (hamstring) is batting third in the Toledo lineup on an injury rehab assignment. He's 5 for 14 in four games thus far. The Bisons, meanwhile, are third in the North, a game behind Syracuse and a half-game behind Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Those teams open a five-game, two-city series with a double-header tonight in Scranton.

Here's today's Buffalo lineup:

Jesus Feliciano,  rf
Russ Adams, 2b
Daniel Murphy, 1b
Mike Hessman, 3b
Mike Jacobs, dh
Mike Cervenak, lf
Josh Thole, c
Ruben Tejada, ss
Emmanuel Garcia, cf
----
Bobby Livingston, p

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Bulletin: Strasburg may pitch in Buffalo June 3

The chances appear to be growing that pitcher Stephen Strasburg, the No. 1 overall pick in last year's major-league draft, will be starting June 3 at Coca-Cola Field for the Syracuse Chiefs against the Buffalo Bisons. If Strasburg takes the mound here that day, it's expected that would be his final Triple-A appearance before getting promoted to the Washington Nationals.

Citing unnamed team sources, the Nationals' Web site reported Wednesday night that Strasburg's first start in the big leagues would be sometime between June 8-10 at Nationals Park against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Strasburg's next start in Triple-A is scheduled for Saturday night against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in Syracuse's Alliance Bank Stadium. Assuming normal rest, he would thus be on target to pitch the June 3 game in Buffalo, which is currently slated to start at 1:05 p.m. The Washington Post has already floated the June 3 date as another Triple-A outing. The Post, by the way, has a full Strasburg archive that includes plenty of photos and video.

(8 p.m. update: Ben Wagner, the Voice of the Bisons, reminds me the June 3 game is a previously scheduled telecast on SNY. It will be going coast-to-coast and the Strasburg factor would almost certainly make it the most-viewed Bisons game ever. Too bad it's not a night game. Ratings and attendance would really spike).

Strasburg has gone a combined 6-1 with a 0.99 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings for Syracuse and Double-A Harrisburg. He is 3-0, 0.39 in four starts at Syracucse, allowing just one earned run in 23 1/3 innings and posting 27 strikeouts against just four walks. He had a streak of 21 straight scorless innings broken Monday night against Toledo.

Strasburg has drawn big crowds at all of his minor-league stops, including an all-time record crowd of 13,766 for his Syracuse debut and more than 12,000 for his stop last week in Rochester that I took a first-hand look. Dude was impressive.

Strasburg has been so dominant in Syracuse that the the prevailing theory was that the Nationals would start him twice on their first June homestand, likely June 4 against Cincinnati and June 9 or 10 against Pittsburgh, so they could get two large crowds. But Nationals GM Mike Rizzo bristled at the Post for pushing that theory and the team seems to be taking a slow approach with Strasburg's debut.

The Nats are being ultra careful with the 21-year-old who signed a record $15.1 million contract last summer out of San Diego State. He was pulled after just 52 pitches against Toledo and there's talk they want to limit him to only about 100 innings in the big leagues this year, thus pushing back his debut date.

The Bisons' veteran-laden lineup would represent a good test for Strasburg. The Herd was off Wednesday and entered the day's play leading the International League in batting (.282) as well as boasting the league's top hitter (outfielder Jesus Feliciano at .364) and leader in home runs and RBIs (third baseman Mike Hessman, 14/49).

The Bisons open an eight-game homestand Thursday at 10:35 a.m. against Toledo (TWC 13, Radio 1520 AM) in their annual Kids Day game.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Dickey on blanking the Phils

Former Bisons knuckleballer R.A. Dickey got his first win with the Mets Tuesday night, pitching six innings in an 8-0 whitewash of the Phillies. He even survived a rocket line drive off the bat of Ryan Howard that got him in the left (non-throwing) elbow. In this ESPNNY.com video, here's some of Dickey's postgame comments. The clip picks up with him talking about the sore elbow and includes his thoughts on a conversation he had with fellow knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who beat the Phils Sunday.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Ex-Griff gets save for Brew Crew

Axford Trevor Hoffman is a mess so who took advantage of a chance to save a game Sunday for the reeling Brewers? None other than former Canisius College pitcher John Axford (59 at left). The right-hander got his second big-league save and first of the season, striking out Twins superstar Justin Morneau in a battle of Canadians along the way.

Axford is a Simcoe, Ont., native and a 2006 Griff who was profiled in an Inside Baseball column last September as the first Canisius player in the big leagues since 1899. He had no decisions and one save with a 3.52 ERA in seven games for the Brewers last year.  In 12 outings at Nashville this year, Axford was 3-2, 2.03 with two saves. He was called up to the Brewers May 15 and has a 3.00 ERA in six appearances.

Axford was the last of five Milwaukee pitchers used in Sunday's 4-3 win at Target Field. Hoffman pitched in a setup role, posting his first hold since 1994.

The Brewers are one of the goofiest teams in the big leagues. Their pitching has been a disaster and that's largely why they're 4-14 at home, the worst record in the bigs. Their 13-13 road mark is the only reason they're even remotely on the map, and manager Ken Macha seems to be on a day-to-day death watch.

Macha has been an Axford booster so his status bears watching. If he gets fired, you never know how a new skipper (likely bench coach and former Mets manager Willie Randolph) might shuffle the deck in the bullpen.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

AP Photo: Axford celebrates with catcher George Kotteras after Sunday's final out.

More from Wedge on '07 ALCS

Be sure to check out my conversation with former Bisons and Indians manager Eric Wedge in Sunday's Inside Baseball column. Wedge talks about his time in Cleveland, his move to a new home in East Aurora, how he's refocusing his energy on finding a job for 2011 and on a charity golf tournament he's running with his wife June 5 in Akron in honor of his late mother in law. The web site for that event, the Carol K Golf Classic, is here.  

One thing that didn't make the column was some extra Wedge thoughts on the 2007 ALCS, the series the Tribe had a 3-1 lead but lost the last three games against the Red Sox. It was the first time television inserted a day off without travel and it came between Games Four and Five, after Cleveland's 7-3 win gave it a stranglehold on the series.

But the Tribe seemed to lose its momentum and the Red Sox seemed to regroup. I've always felt Cleveland wins that series if Game Five is planned the next day.

"We had young players, guys who were inexperienced in that situation and it might have played into it," Wedge said when I told him my theory. "You're rolling but now you had time to think about it, time to watch TV, read the paper, talk to family. You try to get into a zone and stay there and maybe teams that had been there before can do a better job. You can't say that was a determining factor because we had chances the whole series."

True. CC Sabathia and Fausto Carmona combined to go 0-3. Joel Skinner's fateful stop sign of Kenny Lofton in Game Seven didn't help either. The Red Sox outscored Cleveland, 30-5, in the final three games.

It's the closest any team with that many Buffalo connections will ever get to the World Series. Think of all the players on the team. Then there was Wedge, pitching coach Carl Willis, former Buffalo managers Skinner and Jeff Datz. Even trainer Rick Jameyson and broadcaster Jim Rosenhaus, in his first year in the bigs. It was a great run to cover, from a Division Series-clinching party in the clubhouse at old Yankee Stadium to some thrilling ALCS games in Cleveland and Fenway. Too bad it ended a game short of the Series.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)



Around the horn weekend edition

ESPNNY.com columnist Ian O'Connor gives some interesting clubhouse perspective on what's becoming plainly obvious: Jerry Manuel is a dead man walking in the Mets' manager chair. John Harper writes in the Daily News that David Wright's struggles are killing Manuel. In the Post, Joel Sherman writes that the Mets organization is simply run by buffoons. Seriously now, as Sherman points out, you honor the 2000 National League champions when the Yankees are in town? Say what?

Another win for the Bisons at home, where they're 16-6. Buffalo's 16th home win last year was on July 18. Forget to mention in today's story the Mets called up Buffalo closer Elmer Dessens (5-0, six saves). I'm betting he comes back because the Amazins' need a starter for disabled John Maine and Pat Misch is the likely choice there.

Great photo gallery from the Washington Post on Stephen Strasburg's debut in Syracuse and his outing Wednesday night in Rochester. I'm still saying a June 4 debut in Washington and no trip to Buffalo  June 1-2-3. Darn.

Late Friday night, the Blue Jays added six more home runs to their MLB-leading total and Edwin Encarnacion blasted three but they still lost at Arizona, 8-6. It's only the second time since 1920 (!) a team accounted for all its runs in a game with six solo homers. You can see video of the six homers here.

Cardinals pitcher Brad Penny hit a grand slam against the Angels but could be out a few weeks with a lat strain. He insisted it wasn't aggravated by the swing but you wonder.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Dessens called up as Herd finishes homestand

It's cloudy but dry at Coca-Cola Field and everything is on target for the Bisons' homestand-closing 7 p.m. game against Charlotte. Bobby Livingston will be on the mound for the Herd and Ryota Igarashi will pitch again on rehab in relief before likely joining the Mets tomorrow. Igarashi told me after last night's game he was ready but the big club opted for one more outing to be on the safe side.

7 P.M. UPDATE: The Mets have just announced that John Maine is going on the DL with shoulder weaknesss and Buffalo closer Elmer Dessens has been called up. Dessens (5-0, 2.12) got his sixth save last night. Remains to be seen what the Mets do next time Maine's turn in the rotation comes up. Wonder if Pat Misch, who had another solid start last night, will get the call.

The Bisons should get another solid bat next week as Daniel Murphy will be reporting to play multiple roles, mostly second base and the outfield. Murphy on the road back from a knee injury, may join the team in Lehigh Valley and will certainly be here come Thursday morning, when the Herd opens an eight-game homestand in its annual 10:35 a.m. Kids Day game against Toledo.

Murphy was the Mets' regular first baseman last year but lost his job this year in the wake of the injury as Ike Davis is now entrenched in his spot. The Mets now need to find a spot for him and it's probably no coincidence there's trade rumors growing regarding second baseman Luis Castillo.

In any event, that should be another solid bat in a Buffalo lineup full of them. The Bisons enter tonight's game second in the IL in batting (.281), home runs (43) and slugging (.448) and tied for third in runs (201). Here's the Buffalo lineup:

Jesus Feliciano, rf
Russ Adams,  2b
Mike  Jacobs, 1b
Mike Hessman, 3b
Valentino Pascucci, dh
Josh Thole, c
Andy Green, lf
Ruben Tejada, ss
Emmanuel Garcia, cf
---
Bobby Livingston, p

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Interleague intrigue

The injury-riddled Yankees and bedraggled Mets open a three-game series tonight in Citi Field in the marquee matchup of interleague play. Tonight's game features a brutal pitching matchup of Javier Vazquez and Hisanori Takahashi. But things get much better for the games Saturday night (Phil Hughes vs. Mike Pelfrey) and Sunday night on ESPN (CC Sabathia and Johan Santana).

The Jerry Manuel Watch certainly continues. A big blowup against the Yankees -- in their home park that's likely to be filled with Yankee fans -- would certainly hurt the Mets' skipper's case. And then there's three games coming with the Phillies too. The end might be near.

Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post has a fascinating column this morning about how the Big Apple has become an American League town after generations of folks considered it a National League town. Some pretty amazing attendance numbers in that story too. Remember all those years people said no one would go watch the Yankees in the Bronx?

Other intriguing interleague matchups this weekend: Red Sox at Phillies, Tigers at Dodgers, Giants at A's, Reds at Indians.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Bulletin: Yankees staying in Scranton/WB four more years

I'm constantly barraged with questions about the Yankees possibly moving their Triple-A operation to Buffalo and it really peaked last season with all the stadium troubles in Scranton. Well, to steal a phrase from New Yorkers: Fuggedaboutit.

The Yankees have just announced they've signed a four-year extension with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre through the 2014 season. The playing surface at PNC Field was rebuilt after last year's disaster and Yanks GM Brian Cashman loves the quick hop across the George Washington Bridge to check out the Triple-A club. The Yanks aren't leaving Scranton for Buffalo, Syracuse or anywhere else.

Here's the Yankees' official release. Talks about helping the folks in NE Pa. build a new stadium or refurbish the current once.

So that's that. Ask me again in four years.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Igarashi to throw tonight for Herd

Mets reliever Ryota Igarashi is scheduled to come on in relief for the Bisons tonight in Coca-Cola Field. He was supposed to do it tomorrow as well but Mets manager Jerry Manuel floated the thought today in Washington thatIgarashi might join the Mets tomorrow at Citi Field for their series with the Yankees and not throw again for Buffalo. So his outing will be a main subplot of tonight's game against Charlotte.

The Bisons and Knights have split the first two games of the series. Lefty Pat Misch is on the mound tonight, coming off his shutout of Norfolk on Saturday. Mike Hessman continues to lead all of pro ball in RBIs (47) and his 14 homers trail only Double-A Jacksonville OF Mike Stanton (15). He's starting at first tonight for the fourth time this year.

Here's the Bisons' lineup:

Jesus Feliciano, lf
Russ Adams, 2b
Mike Jacobs, dh
Mike Hessman, 1b
Valentino Pascucci, rf
Josh Thole, c
Andy Green, 3b
Ruben Tejada, ss
Emmanuel Garcia,  cf
---
Pat Misch, p

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Catching up with Eric Wedge

Wedge Be sure to check out my Inside Baseball column in Sunday's editions as I'll be featuring former Bisons and Cleveland Indians manager Eric Wedge. After leading the Tribe for seven years -- and getting them within one win of the World Series in 2007 -- Wedge was let go following last season and is spending this year with his wife and two children to recharge his batteries and get ready to look for a new post in 2011.

Wedge's wife, Kate, is an Alden native and they are planning to move from their home in suburban Cleveland and settle in East Aurora. One of their pursuits this summer is a golf tournament to honor Kate's late mother, Carol Kulniszewski, who died last summer of Multiple Myeloma.

The inaugural Carol K Golf Classic will be held June 5 at Rothland Golf Course in Akron. It will feature 18 holes of golf and a silent auction of memorabilia with some items from the likes of Garth Brooks, John Daly, Derek Jeter, CC Sabathia, Joe Girardi and members of the Bills, Sabres and Indians. Non-golfers can take part in a wine tasting tour of six Niagara County wineries. A dinner will follow both events and Wedge will be the guest speaker.

Registration begins at noon with a shotgun start at 1. Individuals are $85 and foursomes are $325. Wine tours are $85. Full information and registration info is available at the event's official Web site, Carolkgolfclassic.com.

Wedge also had a great run with the Bisons in 2001 and 2002, earning back-to-back playoff berths and posting a 91-win campaign in '01 that was the Herd's best since 1936. He's going to be back on a major-league bench in some capacity next season. Be sure to check out his thoughts in Sunday's paper.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

(AP File Photo: Wedge meets the media during the 2007 ALCS against Boston)

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About Inside Pitch

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has covered the Buffalo Bisons since 1992 and Major League Baseball since 1995. A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Harrington has reported on more than 30 MLB postseason series — including every game of the World Series in this century — and all three of the Bisons' championship runs in their modern era. He is a connoisseur of the famous Stadium Mustard at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

@BNHarrington | [email protected]


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered the Bisons for The Buffalo News since 2002. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | [email protected]

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