Darrell Ceciliani noticed something about the veterans on the roster when he joined the Buffalo Bisons this season.
They all work hard. Harder than a lot of players. Harder than some players deemed up-and-coming prospects.
Ceciliani took note of that, especially as he works his way back into the Bisons’ outfield lineup.
“Any time you’ve got guys like (Casey) Kotchman and (David) Aardsma and Domonic Brown, these guys that have been around and been in the big leagues for quite some time,” Ceciliani said. “You see those guys, they work just as hard or harder than anyone else, and they’ve been in the big leagues for eight, nine, 10 years. To have those guys keep you in line or if you get out of line, just to let you know. They’re there to help, and they’re great guys to listen to. They’ve lived it.”
Ceciliani, who turns 25 on Thursday, has lived a taste of the big-league experience. He played 39 games for the New York Mets last year. Rated as high as the No. 14 prospect in 2010 in the Mets organization by Baseball America, he was sold to the Toronto Blue Jays in the offseason.
In spring training with the Jays, he led the club with 15 hits and averaged .417 with 10 runs scored and 10 RBIs before being assigned to the Bisons.
Eager for a start with the new organization, he hit a bump in the road. After just four games with the Bisons, Ceciliani landed on the disabled list for a month due to a shoulder injury.
“From what I understand, it was just kind of a one-time deal,” Ceciliani said about his injury, saying that he suffered shoulder subluxation when he made a throw “and tore my labrum. Never had any problems with it and just all of a sudden made that one throw and felt something and needed a month to get back.”
This was his first encounter with a shoulder injury, but he has dealt with prolonged stints on the DL before. “I pulled my hamstring four separate times,” Ceciliani said of the 2012 season. “I only played like 20 games. I guess I was out for a couple times about a month. But I mean that was really tough, just coming back and reinjuring it every time out. So I’ve definitely been in that boat before.”
But now, Ceciliani feels healthy and he’s starting to find his timing at the plate. Though he came into Tuesday’s game against the Toledo Mud Hens with only 11 games and 38 at-bats, he’s beginning to make his impact felt for a Bisons team desperately in search of offense.
Ceciliani had an RBI single in the eighth inning for the Herd in Monday night’s 4-1 win over Toledo but went 0 for 3 with a walk in the Herd’s 7-1 loss to the Mud Hens on Tuesday.
“We all come up here and we want to contribute, and obviously it’s been a slow start and you know, that’s baseball,” Ceciliani said. “You’re going to go through your ups and downs, and I’m just trying to stay positive, not panic or worry about anything other than having good at-bats. A lot of times we get in our own heads. We look at the numbers and the numbers don’t always dictate the way you’re playing. As long as you can go out, hit the ball hard, we’ve got to look at that as a win as a hitter. You just try to go about it and do the small stuff and keep going about my business and hopefully things start turning.”