Monday night’s game was another strange chapter in a strange season for Buffalo Bisons left fielder Alex Hassan.
Hassan was forced to make two spectacular catches on relatively routine fly balls at Coca-Cola Field due to a dense fog that made fielding an adventure. Hassan made the final two putouts in the top of the fifth before play was suspended with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre leading, 2-1. The two teams will resume the game at 5:30 Tuesday, then play a seven-inning game.
Fog or not, the 27-year-old Hassan is just thrilled to be on the field after joining the Bisons on May 30.
Hassan switched teams four times since the start of spring training after being designated for assignment, which is the most common way a team clears space on its 40-man roster.
If no team puts in a claim on a designated player, then he can be removed from the 40-man roster and assigned to the minor leagues. Hassan kept being claimed, which showed teams wanted him. But then he kept being the victim of teams needing more space on their roster, bouncing from Oakland to Baltimore to Texas to Oakland.
Then he suffered a freak injury while taking some batting practice with Oakland.
“I was hitting in the cage and hit a ball at the screen,” Hassan said, referring to the protection for the pitcher. “It bounced back and hit me in the face and knocked my teeth out. The screen was close. It was just underhand flips. It was a freak accident.”
Hassan needed oral surgery. He will need two more oral surgeries after the season to make a permanent fix to his teeth.
The result was he was released by the A’s, spent two weeks recovering and signed a minor-league deal with the Jays.
“I’m happy to be settled here and to know this is the team I’ll be with,” Hassan said. “I’m excited to be here.”
Hassan has a solid Triple-A track record. He hit .321 for Pawtucket in 2013 and .287 for the PawSox in 2014.
He’s hitting .206 in seven games with the Bisons but manager Gary Allenson isn’t too worried.
“I played for Ralph Houk in the early ’80s and he’d always say: Guys who hit .280, 290, 300 are gonna hit your .280, .290, .300. Guys that hit your .220, .230 are gonna hit your .220, .230. . . . He’ll get it going.”
Hassan’s last catch was on the warning track and saved a run.
“Off the bat I didn’t see it,” he said. “Once it got closer to me I picked it up. At that point you’re behind and you haven’t taken a normal route like you would off the bat. So I kinda played it into a tougher catch.”