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Bisons-Blue Jays banter: Escobar, a new deal and a farewell from Valentino to Buffalo fans

The first immediate impact on the field regarding the Bisons' new affiliation with the Toronto Blue Jays might play out today in New York, as Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar meets the media to try to explain the apparent homophobic slur he wore on his eye black over the weekend against the Red Sox.

(UPDATE: Escobar has been given a three-game suspension by the Blue Jays in conjunction with MLB and the Players' Association)

Escobar may not make it to 2013 with Toronto (heck, some people wonder if he'll make it to tomorrow unless he's really repentant). Adeiny Hechevarria, the Cuban who played here in the Triple-A All-Star Game, could use a little more seasoning in Buffalo next year according to this story by Mike Rutsey of the Toronto Sun. But you wonder how much, especially if Escobar is dealt this winter.

Hechevarria played mostly shortstop this year in Vegas, and that's where he was for the all-star game. He's played mostly third base in Toronto when Brett Lawrie was on the DL but Lawrie is entrenched there so the Jays have to think about short or second for the Cuban.

The Bisons and Blue Jays, meanwhile, formalized their two-year agreement today and will hold a press conference here Friday afternoon in Pettibones Grille. Our latest story is at this link with comments from both sides.

Pictures of Coca-Cola Field are appearing all over the Web to accompany Blue Jays stories, like this one at the Toronto Star (a tarp-covered field? really?) and this much nicer one taken late this season by from the HSBC Tower.

Meanwhile, Bisons slugger Valentino Pascucci has taken to his Twitter account to thank the fans here for his three seasons. The highlight, of course, was his victory in Triple-A Home Run Derby.

Tweeted Pascucci:  "I so want to send out a special Thank You to all of the Bison fans... Thanks for all the support over the last couple years, you were great."

Pascucci indicated near the end of the season he would be interested in staying with the Mets and also tweeted today he's excited about the chance to him more home runs in the Pacific Coast League, which he tore up in the 90s while playing for Edmonton and Albuquerque.

---Mike Harrington
Twitter: @BNHarrington 

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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 |