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DENNEY HAS DREAM PUT ON HOLD

Imagine being thisclose to playing major league baseball only to endure the disappointment of a dream deferred.

Buffalo Bisons pitcher Kyle Denney knows all too well what that's like.

Denney was summoned to Cleveland last weekend as the Indians were seeking a starter for their Saturday doubleheader against the Kansas City Royals.

So Denney sat in his hotel room in Cleveland, waiting for that long-awaited first call to the big leagues.

But the call never came. Instead, the Indians went with Chad Durbin, who had been recalled from Buffalo earlier. While Denney hung out in his room, Durbin hurled a complete-game six-hitter to lead the Indians to a 10-2 win.

"The bad thing about it was the hotel TV couldn't get the Indians game, so I couldn't even watch," Denney said Thursday after the Bisons' 5-2 win over the Toledo Mud Hens. "I was in complete limbo."

Denney still had hope of joining the Indians when the club had him stay in Cleveland the next day. But he was soon on his way back to Buffalo.

"It was interesting," Denney said of his lost weekend. "The analogy is that you give a kid a candy bar, put it in his mouth and then take it away. Throughout the year it's been talked about me going up there. All my friends and family had come up for the weekend, but it didn't work out."

It must be tough to close in on something you've worked for your entire life and not attain it. But the good ones eventually get their chance, which is why Denney is undeterred by his missed opportunity.

"I'm a man of faith and I feel confident I'll get there eventually," he said. "I can't control what happens up there and what decisions are made. All I can do is control what I do here every fifth day and hopefully that will work out."

If Denney pitches the way he has for most of the season with the Bisons, his time will come.

The 26-year-old right-hander snapped out of a monthlong slump Thursday, allowing just three hits and one earned run over 5 2/3 innings. He could have gone longer if not for a twisted ankle on a pick-off play in the fifth inning.

The victory was Denney's team-high eighth of the season and snapped his four-game winless streak. He went into the game 0-3 in July with an 8.04 ERA.

Thursday, Denney looked more like the pitcher who won his first four decisions this year and not the player who has struggled since going on the disabled list for 2 1/2 weeks after suffering a sprained knee May 15 at Columbus.

"I thought he threw the ball better," said Bisons manager Marty Brown. "He threw his fastball for strikes today much better than he has in the past and challenged people a lot more. His off-speed stuff was in the zone, and he got it out of the zone when he needed to. He pitched very well."

Anytime a player goes through a bad stretch, any kind of success is good. Denney admits that he tried to do more than he's capable during his recent slide. Not knowing his limitations led to bad pitches, and consequently, bad outings.

Perhaps Thursday's performance is a sign Denney has worked out his problems. With a few more good starts, who knows? Maybe he'll get another call to Cleveland. Only this time, his visit won't be limited to a hotel room.

"This month has been tough," he said. "There's been a lot of things that have worked against me. But as a professional you have to put that aside and go out and play. I feel that I can play in the majors and if I keep working it will happen."
e-mail: awilson@buffnews.com

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