Andy Pettitte's final minor-league outing before heading back to the New York Yankees will be Sunday in Rochester's Frontier Field for the barnstorming Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees.
It should draw a big crowd of Yankees fans but it also means some quick shifts of the schedule for the Buffalo Bisons and Rochester Red Wings.
The Herd and Wings were to meet Sunday at 1 at Frontier but that game has now been shelved in favor of Pettitte's outing against Pawtucket, which will be at 2. Rochester is housing 37 of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's home games this year while its ballpark is being renovated and has agreed to add one more, moving this one from Batavia's Dwyer Stadium to Frontier.
The Bisons and Red Wings will now take Sunday off and will play a doubleheader Saturday night at 5, with two seven-inning games. Rochester General Manager Dan Mason initiated the moves when the possibility of a Pettitte outing emerged and the New York Yankees balked at having Pettitte pitch in Batavia, a New York-Penn League city with a ballpark well below Triple-A standards.
"The Yankees made it clear that if Pettitte was going to pitch in this area, it would be at Frontier and not Batavia," Mason told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.
"We were informed of the conversations," International League President Randy Mobley told The Buffalo News by phone Thursday from the league office in Dublin, Ohio. "All of the teams involved have been part of it and this office has as well to make sure there were no rules being violated that might affect things such as travel."
The teams could not play Sunday night because the Bisons have to be at the Buffalo airport at 4:30 a.m. Monday for a flight to Atlanta to start a series Monday night at Gwinnett. They could not play in the first half of a twinbill with Scranton and Pawtucket because New York did not want Pettitte to wait through an extended extra-inning game.
Bisons General Manager Mike Buczkowski said he consulted with manager Wally Backman and New York Mets player development director Adam Wogan about the schedule switch and there were no objections on Buffalo's end.
"As a true baseball manager does, [Backman] starts calculating," Buczkowski said. "It's 14 innings instead of 18 innings. And it's a day off before having to go in the airport at 4:30 in the morning for a long travel down to Atlanta."
The Red Wings say they understand fans might be upset at the perception the hometown team is being pushed aside but Mason said, "We feel this is a chance to give people in this area a chance to see a possible future Hall of Famer. We're very excited."
"I don't have any concern with that because I know the Rochester club discussed it with their affiliate [the Minnesota Twins]," Mobley said. "The Rochester club was concerned with that also. They didn't want to do anything to offend them."
Buczkowski agreed with that notion and pointed out the Red Wings have long been cooperative with Buffalo's requests, like always being home on July 3 and always finishing on the road for the National Chicken Wing Festival.
"There's plenty of times where they'll help us with these kind of things," Buczkowski said. "And I would hope if there was some kind of opportunity in the future that involved them making a little bit of adjustment in the schedule that they would do the same thing."
The Red Wings announced the following ticket options:
* All tickets for the Buffalo-Rochester game on Sunday are now valid for the Yankees-Pawtucket game. Fans who already have tickets, especially those in Buffalo, and do not want to attend the Pettitte game must call the Red Wings at (585) 423-WING prior to Saturday at 5 in order to make an exchange.
* Fans holding tickets to the originally scheduled Yankees-PawSox game in Batavia on Sunday may exchange their tickets for the same game at Frontier Field. The exchange must be made by 5 p.m. Saturday at either box office.
* Tickets for Sunday's Yankees-Red Sox game featuring Pettitte go on sale today at 9 a.m. at Frontier Field or at (585) 423-WING. They go on sale online at Redwingsbaseball.com today at noon.
Frontier Field is about a 70-minute drive from Buffalo. Take the New York State Thruway to Exit 47 (Leroy) and follow Route 490 East to Exit 12.
Both games of Saturday's Buffalo-Rochester doubleheader will be broadcast live on Time Warner Cable SportsNet 13. There is no television scheduled for the Pettitte game.