by Amy Moritz
"Hello my people! I'm on my way to Buffalo"
That's how Jose Reyes began his video on Instagram as he rode from Toronto to Buffalo for his three-game Major League rehabilitation stint with the Bisons.
Reyes will start at shortstop and leadoff the batting order for the Herd when they host the Durham Bulls tonight at Coca-Cola Field (7:05 p.m., TWCS, Radio 1520). He said he will play nine innings tonight, with that being the plan for the next two games as well although he may make one start as a designated hitter.
Reyes, the four-time All Star and 2011 National League batting champion, injured his ankle on April 12 in Toronto while sliding into second base. His rehab has been ahead of schedule and he comes to Buffalo after playing three games with Single-A Dunedin where he hit .417 (5-12) and more importantly became comfortable again running the bases.
"I'm glad that I'm here, so close to go to the big leagues again. I'm so happy," Reyes said this afternoon as he met the media in the Bisons dugout.
"I was able to steal a base. I was able to score from first on a double," Reyes said of his time with Dunedin. "That kind of indicated that I’m good, so I don’t know that I’m 100 percent because it’s going to come with time, but I’m very close."
While this is the first time Reyes will be in a Bisons uniform, it's not his first trip to Coca-Cola Field. He played three games here in 2003, June 4-6, as a 19-year-old with the New York Mets organization.
"I don’t remember too much but I remember a little," Reyes laughed. "It was a good memory."
Good memories and a warm reception, too, from his Bisons' teammates.
"I know most of the guys here," he said. "We were together in spring training. A lot of Latin players that I know too from the Dominican. I feel like I’m home. I hope I can get through the games and go to the big leagues as soon as possible."
Here is the full audio of Reyes' session with the media
Pillar Debuts: The first day in Triple A is a big career step in the life of a professional baseball player. For Kevin Pillar, his debut comes batting second after All-Star Jose Reyes. Pillar was promoted to Buffalo from Double-A New Hampshire and the outfielder will start in center. In his third year of pro ball, Pillar hit .313 with 20 doubles and 30 runs batted in in 71 games with the Fisher Cats. To make room on the roster, outfielder Ryan Langerhans was released.
Webber gets the start: Thad Webber makes his third start for the Herd and is coming off a stellar outing in Pawtucket. On June 15, he did not allow a hit in the seven innings he pitched, allowing just one walk with eight strikeouts. A homerun by Alex Hassan in the eighth broke up the team's no-hit bid.
No Gose: For the record, Anthony Gose is sitting his second straight game. Gose botched a play in center field on Wednesday night, an error which cost the Herd, and pitcher Ricky Romero, a win. Manager Marty Brown has voiced his displeasure at Gose's mental approach to the game.
Tonight's Bisons' Lineup:
Jose Reyes -- SS
Kevin Pillar -- CF
Mauro Gomez -- DH
Luis Jimenez -- 1B
Moises Sierra -- RF
Jim Negrych -- 3B
Eugenio Velz -- LF
Ryan Goins -- 2B
Sean Ochinko -- C
taggedBisons | Bisons/Blue Jays