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Reese McGuire gets first taste of spring baseball in Buffalo

He had been warned about the weather, but until he got behind home plate at Coca-Cola Field, Reese McGuire didn't quite know what to expect.

It was cold. And windy. And rainy. Generally miserable conditions under which to play baseball.

Welcome to the Buffalo Bisons.

McGuire had two hits, including one in the ninth that started a rally for the Herd. It fell short in a 2-1 loss to the Indianapolis Indians at Coca-Cola Field Thursday afternoon.

The Triple-A rookie catcher made his Buffalo debut under difficult circumstances, including an hour-and-39-minute rain delay in the fifth inning.

"This was my first time here so I've seen it first-hand right now, but a lot of the guys are saying get used to it," McGuire said. "It's going to be like that throughout the season so you've just got to stay locked in, try not to lose focus and always be prepared to play until they say it's canceled."

The Bisons certainly have had their fair share of weather miscues the first week of the season. Their opening series in Rochester saw all three games postponed due to snow and cold. The Bisons played all three games in Pawtucket, going 2-1 in the series, but nothing has quite felt like a comfortable baseball climate.

So the cold and wetness of Thursday's opener at Coca-Cola Field was nothing new, even as the team dealt with the prolonged rain delay while the game was scoreless.

"The only thing I think it disrupted for us was our pitching scheme," Bisons manager Bobby Meacham said. "But I think this week has been crazy so we're kind of used to crazy. The delay, I don't think, hampered anything we would have done. So far, it kind of goes along with what we've been facing this past week."

It might have been nothing different from what they've faced this week, but there have been some adjustments made by the players in a rain-soaked game.

"I think you've just got to be ready for a different style of game when it's raining like that," McGuire said. "You're going to be a little more aggressive on the basepath. Guys have a little bit of the wet ball out there when it gets in the grass in the outfield. You might be more aggressive because you know that. Other than that, I think you've just got to simplify it. Little things are going to be the difference in the game."

McGuire made a difference for the Herd in his second game catching for the team. The 14th ranked prospect in the Toronto Blue Jays organization, McGuire started a rally for the Bisons with two outs in the ninth, lacing a single to left field with the Herd trailing, 2-1.

Jon Berti replaced McGuire on the basepath, and he moved to third when Jason Leblebijian beat out a grounder for his second hit of the game. Roemon Fields drew a walk to load the bases, but the Bisons threat ended there as Darnell Sweeney struck out to end the game.

Still, the late-game rally attempt was a good sign for the Bisons, one that captures the desire of Meacham to have a team that works hard until the final out.

"We didn't finish it but we gave them a scare over there and it just proved that these guys once again, just like last year's team, are going to play hard until the end," Meacham said. "Just didn't quite get the big hit at the end but that's OK. We'll be back.

"It was very encouraging. We had the delay, then had to come back out and it got colder. It looked like they had things in hand when they took the lead but guys kept scrapping. You could hear it in the dugout. You could feel it. We were still in it. We're going to give it a shot at the end, but it's always encouraging to see that."

 

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