It's one thing for the Bisons to pinch-hit for Jeff Manto to get somebody else an at-bat. It's another thing entirely to do it down a run in extra innings.
Antennas went up all over North AmeriCare Park when manager Brian Graham sent Richie Sexson to bat for Manto in the eighth inning of Sunday's 3-2 first-game loss to Nashville.
There was no trade or roster move looming. It turns out Manto, the club leader with 20 home runs, has been nursing a sore left triceps muscle in his arm.
"It's just a little thing that's been sore for a few days," Manto said. "It's no big deal."
Manto hasn't homered since last Sunday at Omaha and has just 6 hits in his last 26 at-bats. He doubled in three trips Sunday and had no problem with Graham using Sexson, who was retired on a fly ball to center. Manto sat out the nightcap but said he thought he could play in tonight's series opener against New Orleans.
"It was sore, so we felt it was the best thing to do at the time," he said.
Former catcher Tom Prince and current second baseman Casey Candaele are the top vote-getters and runaway leaders at their positions as balloting continues for the Bisons' 10-year North AmeriCare Park Anniversary Team.
Fans can vote through Aug. 18 with winners announced Aug. 24 as part of Fan Appreciation Night. Ballots are available at the stadium's guest relations center.
Prince, the only Bison to play in five different seasons (1988-1992), had 4,165 votes at catcher entering the current homestand. Candaele has earned 3,574 votes at second base.
Here's a rundown of leaders at other positions:
Infield -- First base: Orlando Merced, 3,076; Russ Morman, 680. Shortstop: Bill Ripken, 1,992; Carlos Garcia, 1,110; Jay Bell 1,105. Third base: Jeff King, 2,093; Kevin Young, 1,389; Don Sparks, 1,046.
Outfield (three are chosen) -- Brian Giles, 2,581; Moises Alou, 2,442; Greg Tubbs, 1,526; Nigel Wilson, 1,452; Jeromy Burnitz, 1,249; Benny Distefano, 1,055; Al Martin, 1,036.
Pitchers (three starters and three relievers chosen) -- Starters: Tim Wakefield, 3,155; Rick Reed, 2,873; Joe Roa, 2,542; Dorn Taylor, 1,808. Relievers: Danny Graves, 2,797; Blas Minor, 2,653; Paul Shuey, 1,728; Stan Belinda, 1,573; Alan Embree, 1,563.
Other categories -- Designated hitter: Brian Dorsett, 2,707; Orestes Destrade, 1,282. Utility: John Wehner, 1,910; Scott Little, 1,203; Torey Lovullo, 827. Manager: Terry Collins, 2,654; Brian Graham, 1,743.
Candaele is the only Bison batter to play in all three seasons since the team has been affiliated with Cleveland, and is thus creeping up the list of the franchise's Association-era leaders.
Candaele is now fifth in hits with 261, sixth in runs (141) and games played (238), and seventh in doubles (48). All of those figures lead the Bisons since the team switched its affiliation from Pittsburgh to Cleveland in 1995.
The Bisons are unbeaten in double-headers this year with four wins and six splits. In three years under Brian Graham, the Herd has been swept just twice in 32 twinbills. Buffalo has won 12 and split 18.