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Batting Practice: Prospect watch, short-season kicks off, surviving a nine-day road trip

Prospect Watch

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the 19-year-old third baseman, will be out four weeks after suffering a patella tendon strain, the Toronto Blue Jays announced. Guerrero was tearing up Double-A with a .407 batting average, making fans wonder if he would skip a trip to Triple-A Buffalo and head straight to the big leagues. That's unlikely to happen now.

In the meantime, Bo Bichette stole his 20th base of the season this weekend. While his numbers aren't as gaudy as Guerrero's, Bichette is hitting .361 over his last 10 games with 29 RBI on the season.

Gurriel in the groove

Bisons second baseman Lourdes Gurriel Jr. wants to prove true the adage that it's not how your start but how you finish that matters. Gurriel was batting just .125 with the Herd on May 18. He brought that average up over .300 on the weekend. Over the last 10 games, he has batted .341 while driving in 11 runs. Heading into Tuesday's game he was on a six-game hitting streak.

All in the family

When Toronto selected rightfielder Griffin Conine in the second round of the MLB draft he became the fifth player in the Blue Jays organization to be the son of a former Major Leaguer. He joins Guerrero Jr., Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Kacy Clemens and Dwight Smith Jr. Conine is the son of Jeff, who played 17 years in the big leagues with Florida, Baltimore, Kansas City, the Mets, Philadelphia and Cincinnati.

It's time for the short-season

Many recent draft picks will get their first taste of pro baseball life beginning this month as the short-season leagues open for play. For the Blue Jays, that includes Vancouver, which plays in the Class-A Northwest League opening the season on June 15. Bluefield, which plays in the Rookie Appalachian League, opens on June 19.

Locally, the New York-Penn League also opens on June 15 with the Muckdogs, the short-season Class A affiliate of the Miami Marlins, still in business in Batavia this summer.

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Three questions with ...

Pat Malacaro, in his inaugural season as Voice of the Bisons, talks about life on the team's season-long nine-game road trip:

Q: How do you pack?

A: I nearly got away with just a duffel bag for this trip. In general, I pack enough team-issued polos and a couple extra generic ones to last me the whole trip, two pairs of khakis/dri-fit dress pants, and a pair of jeans. After that, I jam as many pairs of workout clothes I can so that I can run or use the hotel gym a couple times on a trip.

Q: What's the best part of the travel?

A: Getting to settle into a city and visit different restaurants/places. That is one advantage of baseball over hockey: I see the same city for at least 48 hours and am not on the move so quickly.

Q: What's the worst part of the travel?

A: The long, overnight bus rides. I can sleep on the bus generally after putting a movie on my iPad, but when it is raining and there is construction, I get woken up and I wouldn’t call it real sleep.

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