by Amy Moritz
The Buffalo Bisons return to Coca-Cola Field to open a four-game series with the Charlotte Knights. The Herd is coming off a 4-4 road trip splitting series at Louisville and Indianapolis.
Rehab assignment: Righty Dustin McGowan joined the Bisons on an MLB injury rehab assignment and is expected to throw in relief tonight. A former No. 1 pick of the Toronto Blue Jays, he missed all of 2012 with plantar fasciitis in his right foot and missed 2009 and 2010 with shoulder injuries. He pitched twice for Single-A Dunedin, striking out four in two innings of work.
Rehab assignment Part II: Charlotte's starter tonight is John Danks, who is working his way back to the Chicago White Sox after season-ending surgery on his left shoulder last August. He has 57 wins for the White Sox over six seasons with a career 4.12 ERA.
A .400 slump? Jim Negrych still leads all of minor league baseball in batting average, but the Bisons' infielder has slipped to batting .400 after batting just 7 of 24 (.292) on the Herd's road trip. Negrych, however, is hitting well in Buffalo, batting .475 (29 of 61) at Coca-Cola Field.
Slumping starters: Speaking of slumping, the starting pitching has been problematic for the Herd. In May, the starters ERA is 7.51 coming off a road trip where the starters ERA was 8.61 (37 earned runs in 38 2/3 innings pitched). Tonight, Claudio Vargas (3-2) makes his eighth start. In his last outing, a no-decision at Louisville on May 13, he gave up two runs on seven hits in six innings.
Transactions: This afternoon, the Herd added righthanded pitcher John Stilson from Double-A New Hampshire and released righty Clint Everts. Stilson, 22, was a third-round draft pick of the Blue Jays in 2011. In two relief appearances for New Hampshire, he has one save and six strikeouts with a 3.86 ERA in 2 1/3 innings.
Tonight's Bisons' lineup:
Mike McCoy -- SS
Anthony Gose -- CF
Moises Sierra -- RF
Luis Jimenez -- DH
Mauro Gomez -- 1B
Andy LaRoche -- 3B
Jim Negrych -- 2B
Eugenio Velez -- LF
Mike NIckeas -- C