We start the final ride

All season long we talk about the long haul and the grind of the season. Buffalo starts a two stop tour for the final four games of the year, opening tonight against playoff bound Pawtucket and then closing against rival Rochester.

Travis Hafner is not in the lineup tonight but he will be tomorrow. Josh Barfield will hit as the DH in his return-to-play program. Victor Martinez is back with the Tribe tonight, ending his assignment with the Herd. To allow room for Martinez on the roster the Indians designated INF ANDY GONZALEZ for assignment.

Martinez has been on the disabled list since June 12 and underwent surgery on his right elbow the following day. He began a 20-day rehab assignment on August 15 and appeared in 8 games at AA Akron and AAA Buffalo (.308, 8-26, HR, 3RBI) before today’s activation. Martinez hit .278 (55-198) with 11 doubles & 21 RBI in 54 games (.333SLG, .332 on-base) prior to going on the DL in June. It marked his second career stint on the Major League DL, his first since the 2003 season.

Gonzalez has been with the Indians since July 26 and appeared in 10 games (5-24, .208)

Tonight’s News & Notes

TODAY’S GAME: Tonight, the Buffalo Bisons take on the Pawtucket Red Sox in the first game of a two-game series from McCoy Stadium (7:05 p.m.). This is the start of the final four-game roadtrip of the season for the Herd. On Sunday, the team will travel to Rochester for a two-game set with the Red Wings to conclude the 2008 season. On the mound today for Buffalo will be LHP Scott Lewis. In just his third Triple-A start, the southpaw threw a complete game in a 2-0 loss in Scranton/Wilkes-Bare on Sunday. The Red Sox will counter with RHP Charlie Zink.

-Last Game: 8/24 @SWB: (L, CG, 8.0IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 8K), Bisons’ 2-0 loss.
-2008 w / Bisons: (1-2, 3.50ERA)(3GS, 1CG, 18.0IP, 17H, 8R, 7ER, 4BB, 15K)
-2008 w/ Akron: (6-2, 2.33ERA)(13GS, 73.1IP, 62H, 22R, 19ER, 9BB, 61K).
-2007 w/ Akron: (7-9, 3.68)(27G, 25GS, 134.2IP, 135H, 58R, 55ER, 34BB, 121K).
-2006 w/ Kinston: (3-3, 1.48)(26G, 26GS, 115.2IP, 84H, 24R, 19ER, 28BB, 123K).
-2006 VYTORIN Most Spectacular Pitcher Award -lowest ERA in domestic leagues.
-Selected in the 3rd round (77th overall) of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft.

VS. PAWSOX: The Bisons are 8-6 against Pawtucket this year and can clinch the season-series with a win tonight. It would be the third consecutive year the Herd has collected the series victory. The Bisons have won 17 of their last 26 games against Boston’s Triple-A affiliate. That includes an 8-5 record in their last 13 games at McCoy Stadium.

COMPLETE EFFORT: LHP Scott Lewis is coming off a complete-game performance in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday -just the Bisons fourth complete game of the season. Lewis delivered eight fantastic innings in just his third Triple-A start and struck out eight without issuing a walk. Unfortunately, a two-run home run from Yankees’ Ben Broussard gave Scranton/WB the offense they needed for a 2-0 win. Lewis now has a 3.50ERA in his first three starts with the Bisons.

ROSTER MOVE: C Victor Martinez has been activated and promoted to the Cleveland Indians. Martinez had been with the Bisons for 10 days on a major league rehab assignment after elbow surgery in June. Martinez hit .300 (6-20) with two doubles and four RBI in six starts with the Bisons.

MVP: Bisons 2008 MVP, OF Todd Linden went 2-4 with a double and an RBI yesterday. The switch-hitter has failed to reach base in only 12 of 86 games while leading the club in home runs (13), walks (51), on-base percentage (.386) and slugging percentage (.476). A clutch performer, Linden has averaged .348 (32-92, 36RBI) with runners in scoring position.

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