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Pitching-rich Bisons roster taking shape

While getting ready for tonight's Sabres-Penguins game, I can give you some news on the Bisons as it looks like their roster is just about set. Here's a quick rundown:

---We're less than six days from the season opener, next Thursday in Pawtucket. The home opener is April 11 against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The team will convene in Buffalo for a workout and media session Tuesday in Coca-Cola Field (closed to the public).

---It looks like there's a good chance mega Mets pitching prospects Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia will both open the season in Buffalo, which would be a huge boon for the Bisons' hopes and exactly what manager Wally Backman has stated he wanted the organization to do when he was introduced here in November.

Harvey was the Mets' No. 1 pick in 2010 out of North Carolina but was rocked for three home runs Sunday by the Nationals in his first big-league chance. Work in progress.

---Adam Rubin at reports the rotation will include Harvey and Familia as well as holdover Chris Schwinden (8-8, 3.95 in 26 starts for Buffalo last season) and free-agent signees Garrett Olson and Jeremy Hefner.

---The Mets' cuts this week also give you some insight on the Bisons' lineup: Free agents Rob Johnson and Lucas May will share the catching duties. The infield will include the likes of Reese Havens at second, Jordany Valdespin at short, Zach Lutz at third and perhaps Josh Satin in a utility role along with veteran Vinny Rottino. There's also free-agent signee Matt Tuiasosopo and Josh Rodriguez,  just signed by the Mets on Thursday. 

The outfield should include Raul Reyes, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Matt Van Dekker and free agent signee Adam Loewen, the converted pitcher who had a big bat last year at Las Vegas (306-17-85). Fan favorite Val Pascucci, with 38 homers the last two years here, will split time at first and DH.

---Sorting out bullpen roles seems like it will be the big issue in the early going for Backman. Not many young prospects there. More of the veteran free-agent type, with the only familiar name being former Cleveland prospect Fernando Cabrera, who pitched here from 2004-2006.

---The Bisons are 1-4-3 this spring and continue their schedule Friday with a game against Memphis in Jupiter, Fla. On Saturday, they'll take a detour to Vero Beach to the old Dodgertown complex to meet New Orleans and wrap things up Sunday in at the Mets' complex in Port St. Lucie against Memphis.

---Mike Harrington


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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 |

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 |