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Rehab Central: With Bautista en route, a look at other big names who shaped up with Bisons

Jose Bautista hit a home run Wednesday night in his first at-bat for Class A Dunedin, so it's likely his plan will hold true and he will be in the Buffalo Bisons' lineup on an injury rehab assignment for Friday's game against Gwinnett in Coca-Cola Field.

Bautista's stint will certainly be one of the most watched rehab trips the Bisons have had in their modern era, especially given their proximity to Toronto. Here's a look back at other prominent rehab assignments the Herd has had the last 30 years:

Ron Kittle, 1985 -- The 1983 American League rookie of the year batted .333 with two homers and five RBIs in six games for the Herd at War Memorial Stadium in the first year of Buffalo's modern era of Triple-A. The parent club was the Chicago White Sox.

Mike LaValliere, 1989 -- Pirates catcher was 2 for 18 in seven games.

Jim Thome, 1998 -- Slugger needed work in September, with Indians in playoff push and all minor-league affiliates done except Bisons. So Thome suited up in the first two games of the IL finals, drawing the ire of the Durham Bulls and parent Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He even came up with the bases loaded in Game One, delivering a sacrifice fly. Thome went 0 for 4 with two errors in Game Two.

Dwight Gooden, 1998-99 -- Dr. K of Mets and Yankees fame went 1-2, 9.00 in four starts for Herd in 1998 and 0-1, 2.45 in another rehab appearance in '99. Struck out 21 in 19 2/3 innings for Buffalo.

Sandy Alomar Jr. , 1999 -- Longtime Cleveland catching standout played 10 games here, batting .273 with two homers and 10 RBIs. Immediately endeared himself to players, coaches and Bisons staff with one of his first questions to team officials upon arriving at the ballpark: "How many games back are we?" Not many players on rehab care about such things.

Travis Fryman, 1999 and 2001 -- Longtime big-league infielder went 2 for 11, including a two-run homer, in three games in 1999.  Was 13 for 27  in eight games to start the season in 2001.

Manny Ramirez, 2000 -- Played five games  and menaced IL pitchers by going 5 for 11 with three homers and seven RBIs. Put up ridiculous numbers, with a 1.364 slugging percentage, .647 on-base percentage and OPS of 2.011. Manny was being Manny, as the story goes, by walking part of the concourse of the ballpark in his uniform late in one game after being taken out in the seventh inning.

Juan Gonzalez, 2005 -- the former AL MVP went 6 for 21 with an RBI in five games. Two of them were spent in a battle of MVPs against Charlotte, whose lineup featured future Hall of Famer Frank Thomas.

CC Sabathia, 2006 -- The longtime Cleveland ace never pitched in Buffalo on his way up in the Indians chain, skipping Triple-A in 2001 and becoming AL Rookie of the Year. Reporters congratulated him on finally "making it to Buffalo" when he posted a 8-4 victory over Syracuse on April 27. Sabathia allowed one run on six hits over five innings, struck out five and walked one.

Jose Reyes, 2013 -- Blue Jays shortstop went 7 for 17 in four games, arriving in a Superman T-shirt and even playing on Star Wars Night.

Edwin Encarnacion, 2014 -- Played two games and went 2 for 8. But his first at-bat was a huge one, a grand slam to left on against Norfolk on Aug. 12. It was the Bisons' first in nearly two years.

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