March 2008

The Bisons are here

The blog has been idle over the weekend in large part because those boxes don’t pack themselves, my friends. Thanks to the few of you that have sent ‘well wishes’ with the move Tuesday.

Here comes the Herd… The Bisons’ clubhouse has been open for business the last two days and the players have been coming in while trying to arrange their lives before hitting the road. In a lot of ways, they’re like anyone who moves to a new city during a job change. Get in, get settled, get cable, print directions to the ballpark, find food… all that stuff. Nothing official for the club today.

Team workouts are scheduled Tuesday and Wednesday with lots of web features coming here and from the team.

Back to packing.

The numbers game

Some are good and some are bad.

The numbers game bumped Ben Francisco off the team’s Opening Day roster heading into the last day of Big League camp. 

Dubbed “The Franchise” by the Bisons faithful, he’s another tough out in the order for skipper Torey Lovullo. He’ll be welcomed with open arms by the fans with the incredible numbers he’s posted in the last two years playing for Buffalo.  In short, team MVP one year and the International League’s batting champ the next makes it bittersweet for a guy that needs to keep getting AB’s so he keeps stinging the ball and is ready for his next opportunity to jump back up with the Big Club. 

Eric Wedge admitted today in Winter Haven, FL that not keeping the outfielder and Josh Barfield were among the toughest decisions made this spring.  As tough as it was the number of quality players stockpiled this season in Buffalo have to provide some level of comfort for the Tribe. 

Later in the day, Jason Tyner was re-assigned to minor league camp and the Bisons played Richmond to a 1-1 tie.

What's new?

Plenty, and some of the “new” started even before the official “What’s New” event at the ballpark this afternoon. 

Earlier this morning the Indians optioned Tom Mastny to the Bisons prompting many of my broadcasting brethren to send emails that included the phrases: “can you guys get any better” or “will you loose any games this year” and our GM’s favorite prognostication, “why play the season, pick up the Governor’s Cup when you’re in Richmond during your first road trip.”  Mike is getting a little antsy since the Herd hasn’t hoisted a trophy since 2004 and let’s be honest, I’d like to add another championship ring to my collection too.   

Overall I agree, the way the roster has taken shape the last week-plus, the Bisons look incredibly strong.  The rotation will rival any in Triple-A (and a few in the Big Leagues), the bullpen looks solid and the guys playing the field all proven credentials. 

The roster will be a feature in the next few days in large part because Cleveland skipper, Eric Wedge has said he’d like to have the roster ready when they break camp to play their exhibition games in Atlanta and that starts Friday. 

Back to the new: The Bisons unveiled a large majority of the new goodies that will be part of this season.  We even thought the famous fridaynightbash!® could use a little tweaking, so we did and you won’t believe who gets in FREE (click here to find out).  From food, on-field promotions, in-game entertainers, and the new gear it’s a pretty impressive line-up. 

Keep this in mind, there are a few more HUGE surprises coming to help celebrate “The Year of the Bisons Fan!” 

Puzzle pieces

With the final day of Spring Training around the corner, the Bisons roster is really starting to fall into place.  In large part, the Bisons benefit from the battles forged from the spots the Indians had to fill.

One of the biggest decisions to be made happened yesterday with Cliff Lee being awarded the fifth spot in the rotation.  The other two candidates, Jeremy Sowers and Aaron Laffey, will throw every fifth day for the Herd.  Another debate was settled late this afternoon. 

The Indians optioned 2B Josh Barfield to the Buffalo Bisons roster as many of you were on the drive home.  In the same move, RHP Scott Elarton was also reassigned to minor league camp.

Read the complete release here and find out more about Barfield and Elarton.

Following today’s game former Bisons skipper, Eric Wedge told the media more moves will be made Wednesday with hopes of having the Indians roster set prior to breaking camp and entering exhibition play in Atlanta. 

The next 48 hours should give us the final few moves to put the final pieces into place for the Bisons roster that will open the season in Norfolk. 

Bombs away, Brownie

Buffalo Bisons first baseman Jordan Brown hit three home runs today as the Herd defeated the Toledo Mud Hens, 6-2, in an exhibition game from Lakeland, FL.

Brown, 24, hit two solo home runs and a two-run shot for the Bisons, finishing the game 3-4 with three RBI. He also drew a walk as the Bisons evened their spring training record at 3-3-1.

Brown figures to be in the mix in Buffalo this season after a stellar campaign with Double-A Akron in 2007. He was the Eastern League Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year and mid-season and post season All-Star. His .333 (161-483) batting average led all Double-A hitters. He also had 36 doubles, 11 home runs, 76RBI, 63 walks and a .421 on-base percentage with the Aeros.

In 2006, Brown was named the Carolina League Most Valuable player after hitting .290 with 15 home runs and 87RBI with Single-A Kinston. He was Cleveland’s 4th round pick in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft.

OF Jason Cooper (2-3, 2 2B) and C Wyatt Toregas (3-4, RBI) also had solid offensive games on Monday.

On the mound, RHP Adam Miller started the game and allowed two runs on three hits in 3.0 innings (3K). Edward Mujica (2-0) earned his second spring win with Buffalo with 2.0 shutout innings of work (2H, 1K).