Roster moves are the nature of Triple A baseball and the Buffalo Bisons absorbed plenty over the past 24 hours.
There were seven roster moves over the past day, shuffling the lineups from the Toronto Blue Jays to the Bisons to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
Here’s how it shook out in the Toronto organization this weekend:
On their way from the Bisons to join the Toronto Blue Jays for their series in Cleveland – Scott Copeland, who was scheduled to start for the Bisons Saturday, and outfielder Ezequiel Carrera, who was the leadoff hitter for the Herd and led the team in three offensive categories.
On their way to join the Bisons in Buffalo from the Blue Jays – outfielder Dalton Pompey and pitchers Daniel Norris and Andrew Albers.
Meanwhile, already with the Herd for Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the Louisville Bats at Coca-Cola Field were starting pitcher Casey Lawrence and infielder Ryan Schimpf, just promoted from Double-A New Hampshire. Also in the lineup was Melky Mesa, making his second straight start in the outfield after being promoted from New Hampshire on April 30.
The biggest moves are the demotions of Norris and Pompey. Both are young players who made their first major league Opening Day roster this season.
The move involving Norris happened early on Friday. The move with Pompey came late Friday night.
The outfielder from Mississauga has struggled at times with the Blue Jays this season. In 23 games with Toronto he hit .193 (16 of 83) with six doubles, two home runs and six runs batted in. His low offensive output was compounded by iffy defense in center field.
The telltale sign that the 22-year-old Pompey needed some Triple A time came April 19, when he had a particularly difficult game in a 5-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves in Rogers Centre.
“I’ve found ever since the season started I’ve been playing somewhat scared just because I don’t want to make a mistake,” Pompey said to Toronto reporters after the game.
He won the Opening Day spot out of spring training after sprinting through the Blue Jays system last year. Pompey started 2014 in Class-A Dunedin, moved on to New Hampshire, then played the final 12 games of the season with the Bisons, hitting .358 (19 for 53) with five doubles, five RBIs and six stolen bases.
That earned him a September promotion to the Jays and his first 17 major league games.
“That happens to a lot of guys,” Herd manager Gary Allenson said. “Not many guys go up the first time and stick up there the whole time. It’s a learning experience. He probably has to get some confidence back and go out and compete and have fun. It’s still a baseball game regardless of what level you’re at. The paycheck every two weeks is a little different, but it’s just a matter of time.”
Meanwhile, there’s opportunity for players recently promoted to the Bisons from Double A.
“I look on the field and I think we had three guys on the field who started in New Hampshire,” Allenson said. “It’s an opportunity to show the guys up above that they’re good players.”
Mesa went 0 for 3 with a walk while Schimpf went 1 for 4 as the designated hitter.
Lawrence, making his second career Triple A start and first since 2013 with the Bisons, had a rough second inning, giving up three runs. He took the loss.
“Any time you get an opportunity you try to take advantage of it,” the 27-year-old Lawrence said. … “It’s keeping things in perspective and going out there, putting it all on the line and seeing what happens.”