Buffalo Bisons manager Bobby Meacham was back with the team Tuesday after a mandated four-day vacation.
The Toronto Blue Jays, like many major league teams, require all of their full-time minor-league coaching staff to take the leave at some point in the season. The Bisons were off Monday, so it was a five-day break for the Herd's first-year skipper.
“We went to our house just outside of Houston, Texas,” Meacham said of he and his wife. “Made sure everything was together. My daughter, who lives like three blocks from us, sold her house. So the first two days I was moving stuff.”
“I’m beat right now,” Meacham laughed.
Meacham on the hiatus: “There’s plusses and minuses. The plusses are we’re gone all year from our homes and we get a chance to go back and make sure everything is intact and take care of our families. That’s important to not only the Blue Jays but to each of us. The minuses are the continuity suffers a little bit. But I think after doing this for years and years in the Blue Jays organization, guys don’t skip a beat. They don’t miss us that much.”
Bisons pitching coach Bob Stanley is on vacation the next four days. Jays senior pitching advisor Rick Langford is in town in Stanley’s place.
Standings: The Bisons' 9-7 loss to Lehigh Valley Tuesday dropped the Herd into fourth place in the International League North Division. Buffalo is 10 games out of first, 4.5 games behind Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and one game behind Pawtucket.
Pitchers: Buffalo’s Aaron Oberholtzer, who hadn’t allowed more than three earned runs in nine starts, was tagged for seven runs on 11 hits in 4 1-3 innings. Lehigh Valley’s Mark Leiter, a spot starter, gave up seven runs on 10 hits in three innings. But the IronPigs relievers allowed just one hit and no runs the last six innings.
Strike outs: The Bisons struck out 17 times, with many of the third strikes coming on off-speed pitches.
Said Meacham: "They basically challenged us with the fastball. The ball was down all night long. And their breaking balls, their split-finger fastballs, were down and out of the zone. When we struck out, which was a lot, we were swinging at balls that started in the strike zone and went out of the strike zone."
Mr. Big Stuff: Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus threw out the first pitch. He signed autographs during the game.
Blue Jay rehab: Steve Pearce joined the Bisons Tuesday on a rehabilitation assignment from a calf injury suffered with Toronto on May 16. Pearce, 34, hit four homers in 10 games for the Jays in May. He has played parts of 10 seasons in the majors and hit 21 homers and 26 doubles for Baltimore in 2014. He hit .309 in 60 games for Tampa last season. Pearce started in center field for the Bisons.
Roster moves: Relief pitcher John Stilson, 26, was promoted back to the Bisons after a brief Double-A stint. Infielder Gregorio Petit re-joined the Herd after a rehab stint in Florida.
In the house: Paid attendance was 5,313.
Up next: The two teams meet at 7:05 p.m. both Wednesday and Thursday. Scheduled to start the next two days for Buffalo are T.J. House and Cesar Valdez. The IronPigs starters are Mark Appel and Jake Thompson.