Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content

Some views on Young and an all-star update

YoungEven though he's 6-foot-10, don't think Randy Johnson when you watch Chris Young. He doesn't overpower you. He beats you with guile. With six shutout innings in Thursday's 3-0 loss to Columbus, Young (left) sent the New York Mets a strong message he could be ready to go a year after shoulder surgery.

"If he feels good, I think he's ready for the big leagues," said Bisons manager Wally Backman. "Maybe he needs another start. If that's what he wants to try to sharpen up a couple things. We're basically going to leave that up to him and tell us how he feels."

"I'll do what's best for the New York Mets. We'll sit down and discuss it," Young said. "We're trying to win a championship there. That's most important. The team is off to a great start and obviously I want to be a part of it.

I feel good and given the results today I feel like I'm pretty close to being ready. We'll sitdown and talk and see what they feel is appropriate. If it's here, that''s great. If it's in New York, I'll be ready to help win a ballgame there."

Catcher Josh Thole said he felt the ball was coming out of Young's hand even better than early last year before his surgery so that's another good sign. An hour or so after the game, Thole and Elvin Ramirez were called up by the Mets. Struggling reliever Manny Acosta, meanwhile, has accepted his assignment to Buffalo.

Click below to hear audio from Young, Thole and Backman.


Chris Young


Josh Thole


Wally Backman

As for the Triple-A All-Star Game, the International League released the first set of ballot leaders in online voting for the game July 11 in Buffalo and Bisons pitcher Matt Harvey and shortstop Omar Quintanilla (currently in New York) are leading at their positions, while Matt Tuiasosopo is one of the top three outfielders.  Josh Satin (1b), Valentino Pascucci (dh) and Fernando Cabrera (relief pitcher) are all third.

The overall IL vote leader is Columbus outfielder Matt LaPorta. The top pitcher is Toledo's Chris Bootcheck. Voting ends June 22.

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

Chris Young photo: Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News

Some early words on the Herd: A 10:35 first pitch, Kids Day lineup, TV thoughts

Greetings from sun-splashed Coca-Cola Field, as the Bisons will wrap up the longest homestand in their history -- a 16-game, 17-day affair -- with today's 10:35 a.m. game against the Columbus Clippers. It's the annual School Kids Day game, with more than 10,000 children expected to be on hand.

The Bisons have won the first three games of the series, and are trying to make this the third straight four-game sweep between the teams in Buffalo. The Bisons took all four meetings against the Cleveland affiliate in 2010, while the Clippers won all four here last year. The Bisons are 31-22, and a win would push them a season-high 10 games over .500, their first time at that mark since Aug. 28, 2010.

The Bisons are 9-6 on the homestand thus far (although the four-game split with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre officially counts as road games). Outfielder/3B Matt Tuiasosopo (.309-2-12) and OFs Corey Wimberly (.304) and Fred Lewis (.300-2-7) have been stars on the stand. Valentino Pascucci has forged a 24-game on-base streak, although he's batting just .220 (11-50). Wimberly will DH today after feeling a tweak in his arm while throwing from the outfield last night (9:30 a.m. update -- Wimberly scratched and Michael Fisher will dH)

Starter Matt Harvey and reliever Justin Hampson are both 2-0, setup man Elvin Ramirez seems headed to New York at any moment because he's made 11 straight scoreless appearances overall, and closer Fernando Cabrera has three saves on the stand. 

At 6-foot-10, starting pitcher Chris Young becomes the tallest Bison in history with today's start. He'll be throwing to catcher Josh Thole, who was cleared to enter last night's game as a DH once his concussion rehab paperwork was approved.

There is plenty of interest in Young's start in New York, and today's game will be shown live nationwide on MLB Network. Really good exposure for the Bisons and for broadcaster Ben Wagner. Locally, however, the MLB Network broadcast is blacked out because the feed is simply the one being used on Time Warner Cable Sportnet.  So if you're a Time Warner customer, you can watch the game as normal on Channel 13. If you're on FIOS (like I am), DirecTV or Dish, you're outta luck. 

That's just absurd. There are two Bisons game this season -- two. Time Warner should be allowing them into everyone's homes in Western New York. The Bisons should be demanding it. And if the words "Time Warner" come through to a viewer on FIOS or DirecTV 100 times in three hours, how exactly is that a bad thing?

But I digress.  Television, especially cable, in this market continues to be utterly goofy. Here's today's lineup for the Bisons:

Corey Wimberly, dh Michael Fisher, dh
Josh Thole, c
Valentino Pascucci, rf
Fred Lewis, lf
Matt Tuiasosopo, 3b
Josh Satin, 1b
Brad Emaus, 2b
Raul Reyes, cf
Sean Kazmar, ss
---
Chris Young, p

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

Mejia Takes Next Step

Mets pitching prospect Jenrry Mejia will don a Buffalo Bisons uniform for the first time in more than a year tonight as he continues to make his way back from Tommy John surgery.

Mejia's comeback hits the Triple-A level after four comeback starts, two at Class A St. Lucie and two at Double-A Binghamton. He's gone at least five innings but no more than six in four of those startsq.

Mejia left Buffalo's April 29, 2011 game at Rochester after four innings upon experiencing discomfort in his right elbow. He was diagnosed with a tear in the ulnar collateral ligament and underwent surgery three weeks later. The 22-year-old righty from the Dominican Republic entered 2011 as the organization's top-rated prospect by Baseball America.

This is the third game of the four-game set with Columbus, with the Bisons having won the first two. The series concludes at 10:35 tomorrow morning.

Tonight's Lineups
COLUMBUS
Ezequiel Carrera, cf
Jason Donald, ss
Cord Phelps, 2b
Matt LaPorta, lf
Jared Goedert, rf
Russ Canzler, 1b
Beau Mills, dh
Andy LaRoche, 3b
Matt Pagnozzi, c
***
David Huff, p (3-1, 3.08)

BUFFALO
Corey Wimberly, cf
Josh Thole, dh
Valentino Pascucci, rf
Fred Lewis, lf
Matt Tuiasosopo, 3b
Josh Satin, 1b
Brad Emaus, 2b
Lucas May, c
Sean Kazmar, ss
*****
Jenrry Mejia, p (0-0, 0.00)

-- Bob DiCesare

Some thoughts on Matt Harvey

Folks in New York want as much information on Matt Harvey as they can get every time he pitches for the Buffalo Bisons. Of course, sometimes, I've got to stick with the game if the outcome doesn't involve Harvey very much.

Such was the case Tuesday as Harvey, the Mets'  No. 1 draft choice in 2010, pitched six innings but got a no-decision in Buffalo's 3-1 win over Columbus. My story centered on new cleanup man Matt Tuiasosopo driving in the winning run in the two-run eighth. So for those of you looking for Harvey info, especially if you reside in one of the five boroughs, here are some stats and thoughts:

---Harvey is 5-1, 3.94 in 11 starts. He's given up 54 hits in 59 1/3 innings, struck out 56 and walked 26. Opponents are batting .240 against him. Strangely, lefties are at just .207 while righties are at .263.

---Harvey still has some command issues (four walks tonight, equaling his season high set on Opening Day) and doesn't use his changeup a whole lot. His best one came in the fifth, when 2011 IL MVP Russ Canzler took a 79-mph pitch for strike three. Harvey's velocity was lower in Tuesday's start, ranging from 88-91. He did not stay in the 92-94-mph range we've seen, clearly opting for more control with less velocity. And it worked well in a 10-pitch first inning and a nine-pitch fourth.

---Talked to a couple scouts pregame and they're in agreement that Harvey will be a good major-league pitcher. Is he a future No. 1 starter? At this point, no.  But he's a solid No. 3. And if he can master secondary pitches, and use them more, there's plenty of room for him to rise up the ladder. 

---Harvey is clearly getting better as the season moves along. His ERA in April was 4.85 in five starts and opponents hit .269 against him. It was 3.24 in May in six starts and the opposing BA was just .215. And he's not finding trouble right away in innings either, as leadoff batters are just 9 for 55 (.164).

---I liked how Harvey retired nine of the next 10 hitters after walking two straight in the second inning. ""He just lost his rhythm a bit," said manager Wally Backman. "And then he seemed to fight through it and get better."

---One area of stat concern that needs more study: Harvey's ERA in innings 1-2-3 is 2.45. In innings 4-5-6, it balloons to 6.04.

---So far, the Mets are playing this one perfectly. Don't rush the guy. Get through the Mike Pelfrey opening with the Chris Schwindens,  Miguel Batistas and Jeremy Hefners of the world for as long as you can. Frankly,  I want Harvey to have a chance to pitch in the Triple-A All-Star Game in his home park. He should make at least 20 starts in Buffalo this season. Then we'll see.

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

Quintanilla gone, Harvey on the mound for Herd

The Bisons play the second game of their four-game set tonight against Columbus in Coca-Cola Field and old reliable Omar Quintanilla will be starting at shortstop at Citi Field for the Mets against the Phillies. Quintanilla, who is manager Wally Backman's choice as Herd MVP thus far, had played in 48 of Buffalo's first 51 games (second on the club to Josh Satin's 49). He was batting .282 and was suprisingly second on the team to Valentino Pascuci in both home runs (6) and RBIs (27).

Quintanilla, who has big-league time with the Rockies and Rangers, and pitcher Chris Schwinden were both called up by the Mets late Monday afternoon. The Bisons have added reliever Jeff Stevens off the disabled list and shortstop Sean Kazmar from Double-A Binghamton, where he was hitting just .236 with one homer and nine RBIs. Kazmar has spent the last three years in Triple-A with Portland (San Diego) and Tacoma (Seattle) and played 19 games for the Padres in 2008.

Matt Harvey (5-1, 4.22) is on the mound for the Bisons tonight, looking for his sixth straight win. If he gets it, the Mets' top pitching prospect would rejoin Syracuse's Zach Duke in a tie for the IL victory lead (Duke improved to 6-2 today by pitching six innings in the Chiefs' 6-2 win at Louisville). The Bisons have had a six-game winning streak by a pitcher 10 times in their modern era, last by Nelson Figueroa in 2009. Harvey is 3-0, 3.62 in his five May starts with 27 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings.

In other transaction news, Mets catcher Josh Thole, on the road back from a concussion, is due to be here Wednesday and will serve as the DH. Thole will then catch Chris Young's start Thursday morning.

Here's the Bisons' lineup tonight:

Corey Wimberly, cf
Fred Lewis, lf
Valentino Pascucci, dh
Matt Tuiasosopo, rf
Josh Satin, 1b
Brad Emaus,  2b
Lucas May, c
Michael Fisher, 3b
Oswaldo Navarro, ss
---
Matt Harvey, p

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

Herd-Clips Lineup

Columbus is in town for a four-game series that opens at 2 this afternoon. The Clippers (Cleveland) have won three straight to improve to 5-5 in their last 10. The Bisons also are playing .500 ball over that stretch.

COLUMBUS (24-25)
Ezequiel Carrera, cf
Jason Donald, ss
Cord Phelps, 2b
Matt LaPorta, dh
Jared Goedert, lf
Chad Huffman, rf
Russ Canzler, 1b
Andy LaRoche, 3b
Matt Pagnozzi, c
******
Zach McAllister, p (3-1, 2.83)

BUFFALO (28-22)
Corey Wimberly, cf
Fred Lewis, lf
Valentino Pascucci, dh
Matt Tuiasosopo, 3b
Josh Satin, 1b
Jordany Valdespin, 2b
Lucas May, c
Dustin Martin, rf
Omar Quintanilla, ss
****
Dylan Owen, p (2-2, 3.19)

-- Bob DiCesare

Schwinden takes hill for Herd to open big pitching week at the ballpark

It looks like pitching is going to be the focus this week in Coca-Cola Field. Bisons right-hander Chris Schwinden meets Scranton veteran Ramon Ortiz in the wrapup of the four-game series against the Yankees today. Ortiz, remember, pitched eight games for the Bisons in 2010 and was a 15-game winner for the 2002 Anaheim Angels. He was also the winner of Game Three in the 2002 World Series at San Francisco.

The Columbus Clippers hit town Monday for a 2:05 game and the teams have just finalized the pitching matchups that feature some good names. Zach McAllister, just back from Cleveland after going 1-1 in four starts, goes for the Clippers on Monday. Mets megaprospect Matt Harvey looks to move to 6-1 on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, Jenrry Mejia makes his first Triple-A start in more than a year after Tommy John surgery against David Huff, a standout for the 2008 Bisons.

On Thursday morning, in a 10:35 start on MLB Network, 6-foot-10 right-hander Chris Young will make his Buffalo debut on the road back from shoulder surgery. He was 1-0, 1.88 in four starts for the Mets last year before the injury. Young won 39 games in the big leagues from 2005-2008 with Texas and San Diego.

Here's today's lineups for the finale with Scranton, with the Bisons again batting as the visitor:

Buffalo
Corey Wimberly,  cf
Fred Lewis, lf
Josh Satin, 1b
Valentino Pascucci,  dh
Matt Tuiasosopo, rf
Jordany Valdespin, 2b
Lucas May, c
Michael Fisher,  3b
Omar Quintanilla,  ss
---
Chris Schwinden, p

Scranton-WB
Kevin Russo, lf
Matt Antonelli, 2b
Steve Pearce, 1b
Jack Cust, dh
Brandon Laird, 3b
Colin Curtis,  cf
Francisco Cervelli, c
Cole Garner,  rf
Ramiro Pena,  ss
---
Ramon Ortiz, p

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

One more for road for Herd vs. Yankees

It's been a pretty entertaining three games for the Bisons and Yankees so far in Coca-Cola Field, Scranton's "home" for the weekend. The Bisons survived to win Saturday, 8-7, as closer Fernando Cabrera got out of a ninth-inning jam -- including a key strikeout of Jack Cust, Friday's walk-off hero.

Some quick numbers from the series so far:

Runs: 21-17, Buffalo
Hits: 32-29, Buffalo

RISP at bats: Buffalo 10-33, Scranton 7-25
LOB: Buffalo 23, Scranton 17

Average time: 3 hours, 15 minutes.

Nice pitching matchup Sunday as Chris Schwinden goes for the Herd against Scranton veteran Ramon Ortiz,   who made eight starts for the Bisons two years ago and went 15-9 for the 2002 World Series champion Anaheim Angels.

Click here for Harry Scull Jr's photo gallery from Saturday's game, including some Dog Day at the park activities.

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

Short night for Herd, Yankees

After a 3-hour, 43-minute affair last night ended in bizarre walk-off fashion on Jack Cust's homer, the Bisons and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees are back at it again this afternoon a scant 14 hours after they finished.

The teams have split the first two games of the four-game set, which has Scranton as the home team in each game. It's quite a logjam in the IL North as Pawtucket still leads the division, Lehigh Valley is second and 1 1/2 games out, with the Bisons 2 1/2 back and Scranton 3 1/2 out. By far the toughest of the three divisions in the IL.

Largely the same lineups for both teams except that Friday night catchers Lucas May and Francisco Cervelli get the days off. Here's the rundown:

Buffalo
Corey Wimberly, cf
Fred Lewis, lf 
Josh Satin, 1b
Valentino Pascucci, dh
Matt Tuiasosopo, 3b
Jordany Valdespin, 2b
Jean Luc Blaquiere,  c
Dustin Martin, rf
Omar Quintanilla,  ss
---
Garrett Olson, p

Scranton/WB 
Kevin Russo,  cf
Matt Antonelli, ss 
Steve Pearce, 1b
Jack Cust, dh
Ronnier Mustelier,lf
Brandon Laird,  3b
Cole Garner,  rf
Gustavo Molina,  c
Ramiro Pena, 2b
----
D.J. Mitchell, p 

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

Opening Day rematch as Bisons meet Yankees

The Bisons pounded Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 12-3, in their home opener April 11 in Coca-Cola Field and the pitching matchup for tonight's 7:05 game is the same prospect-studded one we had that afternoon: Jeurys Familia for Buffalo against Dellin Betances of Scranton.

Familia is 4-1,  4.35 and got his first Triple-A win that day with five innings and eight strikeouts. But he continues to struggle with walks and high pitch counts; he needed 87 pitches just to get through 3 2/3 innings of his last start Saturday against Indianapolis.

The 6-foot-8 Betances, a New York native who is one of the Yankees' top prospects, is 2-4,  5.24. He allowed eight runs and matched his career-high by allowing three homers in the first matchup with the Bisons.

Bisons reliever Jack Egbert has been called up to the Mets, with Pedro Beato joining the Herd bullpen on injury rehab. Here are tonight's lineups:

Buffalo
Corey Wimberly, cf
Fred Lewis, lf
Josh Satin, 1b
Valentino Pascucci, dh
Matt Tuiasosopo, 3b
Jordany Valdespin, 2b
Lucas May, c
Dustin Martin, rf
Omar Quintanilla,  ss
----
Jeurys Familia, p

Scranton/WB
Kevin Russo, cf
Matt Antonelli,  2b
Steve Pearce, 3b
Jack Cust, dh
Ronnier Mustelier,  lf
Brandon Laird,  1b
Francisco  Cervelli, c
Cole Garner,  rf
Ramiro Pena, ss
---
Dellin Betances, p

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

 

More than 11,000 tickets sold for Triple-A All-Star Game; Kelly, Jackson, Gronk slated for HR Derby

Online balloting began today and runs through June 22 for the Triple-A All-Star Game on July 11 in Coca-Cola Field and the Buffalo Bisons have just released more information on ticket sales and some of the festivities surrounding the Triple-A Home Run Derby on July 9. Here's a rundown:

Tickets: The Bisons have announced that fewer than 7,000 tickets remain for the All-Star Game, meaning more than 11,000 have been sold, and fewer than 8,500 remain for the Home Run Derby. All party areas and luxury suites have also been sold for both events. The Triple-A All-Star Gala July 10 at Shea's Buffalo and the All-Star Luncheon July 11 at the Adam's Mark are both sold out.

Tickets for the game are $25 and for the Home Run Derby are $15. They can be purchased at the ballpark, at Bisons.com or by calling THE-HERD (716-843-4373). Fans can get both events for $35 and can save $5 per ticket by hosting a group outing of 20 or more people.

There are also limited spots remaining for an all-you-can-eat pavilion for the home run derby. For $30, you get a ticket to the derby and an all-you-can-eat buffet for two hours in the ballpark's pavilion area in right-center field. Fans who already have derby tickets can upgrade for $20. These spots can be ordered by calling THE-HERD (716-843-4373).

Home Run Derby: The derby will start at 7 p.m. on July 9 and it will feature three sluggers from the Pacific Coast League and three from the International League (good bet you'll see Bisons star Valentino Pascucci in it). Between rounds, a Celebrity Home Run Derby has been added with a lineup that has more spots to fill but already includes some big names. Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly will take his swings, as will current Bills running back Fred Jackson and CEO Russ Brandon, a St. John Fisher College Hall of Famer in baseball. 

New England Patriots tight end and Williamsville native Rob Gronkowski is on the list, and so is Buffalo native and Hollywood writer/actor Nick Bakay. Appearances by The Famous Chicken are also on tap for the derby.

Youth initiatives: The Bisons have teamed up with Subway restaurants for a "Subway Shagger Lottery." Local youth teams can sell tickets to both the Home Run Derby and the Triple-A All-Star Game with a part of the proceeds going back into their league. For every 30 tickets sold, the team receives an entry in a lottery, with two teams being chosen to be Subway Shaggers at the Triple-A Home Run Derby.

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

Home away from home for Herd against Yankees

IMG_0393Welcome to our weekend of bizarro baseball.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees took batting practice first. They're listed on the bottom of the scoreboard and the Bisons are on top of the lineup card (left, click for bigger view).

Things are going to be upside down at Coca-Cola Field the next four games as the Bisons play "road" games against Scranton. So among other things, as I wrote in this morning's story, the Herd could be walkoff losers in their own park because of Scranton's stadium reconstruction that's forcing them to play the entire season on the road.

Be sure to see Friday's paper for a more in-depth look at the Scranton situation, including some comments I got from manager Dave Miley prior to batting practice today.

As for tonight's game, Mets mega prospect Matt Harvey is on the mound for Buffalo trying to improve upon his 4-1 record. Harvey is 2-0, 3.68 in four May starts, striking out 25 and walking 10 in 22 innings. Here are tonight's lineups (remember, Bisons batting first):

Buffalo
Corey Wimberly, cf
Fred Lewis, lf
Josh Satin, 1b
Valentino Pascucci, dh
Matt Tuiasosopo, 3b
Jordany Valdespin, 2b
Lucas May, c
Dustin Martin, rf
Omar Quintanilla,  ss
---
Matt Harvey, p

Scranton/WB 
Kevin Russo, cf
Matt Antonelli,  2b
Steve Pearce, 1b
Jack Cust,  dh
Ronnier Mustelier, lf
Brandon Laird,  3b
Francisco Cervelli, c
Cole Garner, rf
Ramiro Pena,  ss
---
Adam Warren, p

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

Baby Boss on Yankees sale rumors: 'Pure fiction'

The New York Daily News tried to hit a home run this morning and got plenty of people talking with a story that said the $2.175 billion sale of the Dodgers has the Steinbrenner family seriously thinking about a sale of the Yankees. There's talk in New York a sale of the Bronx Bombers could bring close to $3 billion, which would be a tidy profit when you consider the late George Steinbrenner bought them from CBS in 1973 for a mere $8.8 million.

(My thought: Exactly who are they figuring to pony up and spend $2.5-$3 billion? Lo and behold, the Daily News offered some suggestions too)

Managing partner Hal Steinbrenner released a statement in response to the article that reads, "I just learned of the Daily News story. It is pure fiction. The Yankees are not for sale. I expect that the Yankees will be in my family for many years to come."

That seems pretty definitive, doesn't it? We'll see.

The Boomer & Carton Show this morning on WFAN in New York had Yankees COO Lonn Trost and Daily News writer Bill Madden on to discuss the story. Naturally, they had quite different views.

Click here to listen to the Trost interview.

Click here to listen to the Madden interview

-------

Speaking of the Yankees, be sure to check out today's story on the Triple-A version's trip into town tonight. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees will be the home team the next four days while playing the Bisons in Coca-Cola Field. Look for a more in-depth feature on the odd situation in Friday's editions of The News.

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

Bisons close out series against Indy

Chris Schwinden is back with the Herd and ready to make his schedueld start as the Buffalo Bisons close out their four-game series with the Indianapolis Indians at 1:05 today. Buffalo has lost two straight and is 1-2 agianst the Indians this season.

Schwinden's earned run average of 2.54 is the sixth-lowest in the International League. He was promoted to the New York Mets on Sunday but did not pitch, allowing him to keep his normal spot in the Bisons' starting rotation. In his last start for the Herd, a win over Gwinnett Thursday, Schwinden gave up two runs on six hits in six innings of work.

The Bisons are off on Wednesday and return to Coca-Cola Field on Thursday when Scranton/Wilkes-Barre comes to town. But the Bisons will be the away team on the scoreboard and in the batting order as Scranton is the "home" team. The Yankees are playing all their games on the road this year.

Today's Bison lineup:

Corey Wimberly -- CF
Fred Lewis -- LF
Josh Satin -- 1B
Valentino Pascucci -- RF
Matt Tuiasosopo -- 3B
Brad Emaus -- 2B
Jean Luc Blaquiere -- C
Omar Quintanilla -- SS
Chris Scwinden -- P

--- Amy Moritz 

Olson scheduled to start for the Herd

Well it's 6 p.m. and the tarp is still on field as showers pass through downtown Buffalo. There is blue sky to be seen from the stadium so hope remains that the 7:05 game between the Buffalo Bisons and Indianpolis Indians will go off as scheduled.

Bisons starter Garrett Olson will face his former team for the first time today. Olson was 4-3 with a 3.05 earned run average for the Indians last year. This year with the Herd, he is 1-3 with  3.59 ERA.

Tonight's Bison lineup:

Corey Wimberly -- CF
Fred Lewis -- LF
Josh Satin -- 1B
Valentino  Pascucci -- RF
Matt Tuiasosopo -- 3B
Brad Emaus -- 2B
Lucas May -- C
Omar Quintanilla -- SS
Garrett Olson -- P

--- Amy Moritz 

Two days after three-homer game, Bisons' Rottino gets the call to Mets

The New York Mets just confirmed the scenario we reported in today's paper -- Bisons' three-home run man Vinny Rottino has been called up to the big leagues for tonight's game in Pittsburgh and pitcher Chris Schwinden has been returned to the Herd so he can make Tuesday afternoon's start against Indianapolis.

Rottino is batting .307 with four homers and 25 RBIs for Buffalo this season. The Mets have dropped back to 12 pitchers now that they're back in National League play after spending the weekend in Toronto, and Rottino gives them 13 positional players.

Schwinden, meanwhile, puts the Bisons back to at least four regular starting pitchers (along with Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familia and Garrett Olson). Dylan Owen can spot start in the other slot, unless someone is brough up from Binghamton. Olson goes tonight at 7:05 against Indy.

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

Three-homer man Rottino may be on last day with Herd; see video of all six of Saturday's longballs

As you can imagine, Vinny Rottino was still in a good mood this morning after his three-homer game Saturday night, just the fourth by a Buffalo Bisons hitter in Coca-Cola Field's 25 seasons. Rottino drove in five runs in the 11-6 win over Indianapolis, and stunned everybody in the house with his three bombs when you consider he entered the game with just one home run on the season and only 74 in a 10-year career. 

"That's kind of cool. Definitely," Rottino said. "I love minor league baseball. I love to play. I play as hard as I can every day but ultimately you're working on the stuff that will get you to the big leagues. That's what I've been doing. Stay consistent and see what happens."

What's going to happen is Rottino is likely joining the Mets in Pittsburgh tomorrow. They need another bench player when they get back to NL action after leaving the DH land of Toronto. Having another guy who can catch can help too. So Rottino's .316 average may only be in the Buffalo lineup one more day as the Herd meets Indy again in a 1:05 start. 

Today's lineup
Corey Wimberly, cf
Fred Lewis, lf
Vinny Rottino, c
Val Pascucci, rf
Matt Tuiasosopo, 3b
Jordany Valdespin, 2b
Josh Satin, 1b
Omar Quintanilla, ss
Jack Egbert, p

Three-homer games at Coca-Cola Field
Vinny Rottino vs. Indy,  May 19, 2012
Val Pascucci vs. Indy,  June 18, 2010
Dusty Wathan vs. Toledo, June 2, 2005
Jeff Manto vs. Iowa, July 14, 1997 

If you missed last night's outburst, here's all six of the home runs by the Bisons, their most since connecting for seven against Syracuse on July 2, 2004. Solid nights behind the mic, as usual, for Ben Wagner and Duke McGuire.

Meanwhile, on the Mets beat, I had a chance to talk to red-hot David Wright prior to Friday night's game in the Rogers Centre and you can read his comments in today's Inside Baseball column. Wright is battling a head cold but he's back in the lineup today in Toronto.

New York Daily News columnist Bob Raissman has a good take on the honesty of Terry Collins. Especially in the wake of John Tortorella's tired act with the Rangers. 

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

Bisons juggle starting rotation

While righty Jeurys Familia (4-1, 4.06 ERA) is set to start tonight against Indianapolis at Coca-Cola Field, Sunday's starting spot for the Buffalo Bisons opened up this morning. That's when Jeremy Hefner was recalled by the New York Mets and drove up the QEW to Toronto for the afternoon game. Herd manager Wally Backman said reliever Jack Egbert would take the Hefner's starting spot for Sunday's afternoon game. "He'll be on a pitch count," Backman said during batting practice. "It's going to be a bullpen kinda day for us."

But before the Herd gets to Sunday, they kick off their four-game series with the Indians. It's the first meeting of the season between the clubs. The Indians won the series last year, 6-2.

Tonight's Bisons' lineup:

Corey Wimberly -- CF
Brad Emaus -- 2B
Vinny Rottino -- C
Valentino Pascucci -- RF
Matt Tuiasosopo -- LF
Josh Satin -- 1B
Oswaldo Navarro -- SS
Michael Fisher -- 3B
Jeurys Familia -- P

--- Amy Moritz 

See the Mets in their NHL sweaters

TORONTO -- Just realized NHL.com did a neat video on the Mets' team-bonding exercise of wearing NHL sweaters that I wrote about in today's story from the series opener at Rogers Centre.

Check it out below, featuring the donning of the sweaters in the Citi Field clubhouse and the arrival at the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto. Among others, you see Johan Santana in the Minnesota Wild, R.A. Dickey in the Nashville Predators and David Wright in a Mighty Ducks sweater (he liked the movie). And props to Jason Bay for the Whale.

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

Mets call up Hefner, send back Valdespin

TORONTO -- Jeremy Hefner won't start Sunday for the Bisons against Indianapolis as the Mets were forced to call him up today to shore up their bullpen after last night's 14-5 debacle against the Blue Jays.  Starter Jon Niese went only three innings and ex-Bisons catcher Rob Johnson had to pitch the eighth, so a long man was needed to back up Miguel Batista for today's game.

The Bisons do, however, get some reinforcements as Jordany Valdespin was optioned back to Buffalo. Valdespin hit .276 with two homers and seven RBIs in 17 games for the Herd. He started in center field in 14 of those games but will likely play mostly second base for the Herd now that Bobby Scales has gone to Japan.

"When he was in Buffalo before, the kid who playing second base there [Scales] was playing absolutely great," Mets manager Terry Collins said here this morning. "But he's not there anymore so I think Valdespin will play a lot more second base, which I think he needs to do."

Valdespin was just 2 for 20 in 15 games with the Mets but one of his hits was a huge one -- a three-run pinch homer in the ninth inning off Philadelphia closer Jonathan Papelbon that gave the Mets a 5-2 win over the Phillies May 7 in Citizens Bank Park.

Valdespin got plenty of outfield work in spring training as well and could play that in the big leagues as well. But don't look for him at shortstop much anymore. Omar Quintanilla is entrenched there in Buffalo and Collins said today the Mets don't envision Valdespin as a shortstop down the road because he simply hasn't played many games there over his minor-league career.

Collins said Ruben Tejada will begin rehab games as soon as Monday. Players typically start at Class A St. Lucie (Fla.) but it's possible Tejada could be in Buffalo for a day or two at the end of next week.

As scheduled, David Wright is getting today off. If you're coming to tomorrow's 1:05 game here, you might not see Wright either. Collins said Wright's head cold is actually worse today than it was yesterday, when he spoke to me through a heavily raspy voice.

Be sure to check out my chat with the game's hottest hitter in Sunday's Inside Baseball column.

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

« Older Entries
Advertisement

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 | mharrington@buffnews.com


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 | amoritz@buffnews.com

Subscribe

Advertisement