It felt to Adron Chambers as if he had barely played all year.
The Buffalo Bisons’ outfielder missed 23 games, sitting on the disabled list with a left groin strain.
But just because he was missing from the lineup didn’t mean he wasn’t still working to get better.
Chambers took turns in the batting cage when he could, trying his best to keep his timing during more than three-weeks on the disabled list. Yet his biggest asset wasn’t physical, it was his mental approach.
The work and the attitude have paid off. In his first two games back, Chambers has gone 4 for 7 with three runs scored.
Sunday afternoon he had two hits, in the same inning, as the Buffalo Bisons parlayed an impressive offensive effort in the third into a 9-4 win over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Coca-Cola Field.
Welcome back, Adron.
“It feels great, you know,” Chambers said. “Shoot how many games did I miss, 23? I didn’t even know. It feels like I haven’t played all year. I started off the year with a broken finger. I’m happy to be back and we’re winning. That’s all that matters.”
Buffalo has now won four straight games and six of its last seven. The bats are starting to heat up and as players, like Chambers, return from injury the depth in the lineup is becoming stronger.
The Herd trailed, 3-1, when they exploded for seven runs in the third. They sent 12 batters to the plate and scored their seven runs on eight hits. Jonathan Diaz and Chambers each had a pair of hits in that inning.
Chambers, who began the year with Triple-A Oklahoma City of the Pacific Coast League, came to the Bisons after the Toronto Blue Jays acquired him in a trade with Houston on June 12.
A veteran of 84 Major League games with the St. Louis Cardinals, Chambers was focused on making a good impression with his new organization and applying the baseball lessons he’s learned along the way.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of older, veteran baseball players and they did a lot of work on the field but they always talked about the mental approach to the game, being positive, being early to the ballpark,” Chambers said. “You know those things you don’t have to physically be strong, you don’t need to be Hulk Hogan, to do those types of things. You’ve just got to prepare yourself, get ready, be responsible, be accountable.”
Also working on making new impressions is starting pitcher Brad Mills. Drafted by the Blue Jays in 2007 he made his Major League debut with Toronto in 2009. He was traded to the Los Angeles Angels in 2011 and played in the Texas, Milwaukee and Oakland organizations before landing back with the Blue Jays earlier this month.
His first outing since being assigned to Buffalo didn’t start out grand. He gave up three runs in the first inning, working off some rust. His last start was on July 1 for the Oakland A’s in Detroit when he gave up three runs in six hits in six innings and took the loss.
Mills was put on waivers and claimed by the Blue Jays who used him out of the bullpen on July 21 against Boston. It was a trainwreck of a game for the Blue Jays and Mills. He ended up being tagged for eight runs on seven hits in just two innings.
He was designated for assignment after that and finally got back into a starting role.
After in the first inning, Mills grew stronger and did not surrender another run. He gave up seven hits over five innings with a walk and two strikeouts.
“I just needed to get comfortable,” Mills said. “I had a couple-inning stint out of the bullpen in Toronto, but I’m a starter and I haven’t started a game since July 1. … I felt like coming out of the shoot I was throwing strikes, I just wasn’t the best at locating strikes.”