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Reyes Shines in Bisons Rehab

Reyes Shines in Bisons rehab
Blue Jays star shortstop makes appearance in Buffalo uniform

It is a shame that the schedule gods weren’t kind to Buffalo this time around.

Back in 2013, Toronto Blue Jays all star shortstop Jose Reyes made quite a splash when he was sent down to the Buffalo Bisons for a rehabilitation stint. Not only did he display his big league prowess at the plate and on the field, but he became quite the show stopper along the sidelines, signing autographs, mugging for photos and selfies with fans, even posing for a picture with a baby who was hoisted over the wall and down onto the warning track. Reyes ending up playing four games at Coca Cola Field, delighting the hometown fans.

This season, Reyes suffered a rib injury back on April 27, which put him on the disabled list. He spent most of the month of May on the mend, and with his upper body injury doing quite nicely, Reyes was activated for duty this past week and sent to the Buffalo Bisons to get his swing back.

Only problem? The Bisons were on the road, playing games in Columbus and Toledo, and not coming home until this past Memorial Day Monday. Would Reyes’ rehab stint stretch long enough into the team’s homestand, so that Buffalo fans could get a glimpse of him again?

Didn’t happen. Reyes rejoined the Blue Jays clubhouse on the road in Seattle this past weekend, and was activated for big league duty on Monday.

Reyes ended up playing in three games at Toledo, all in the leadoff spot in the order. He ended up batting .364 with two runs scored and two RBI’s, while the team won two of the three contests he played in.

Reyes’ return to the Toronto lineup comes just in time for a beleaguered Blue Jays team which has suffered a spate of one run losses, and has also dealt with nagging injuries to several players, most notably Jose Batista, necessitating the insertion of Justin Smoak into their lineup at first base.

As for the Bisons, the player who drew the most inspiration off of Reyes’ presence was infielder Matt Hague. After a dreary hitting month of April where the Bisons could not find their power, all that has changed in recent weeks and Hague has been a big part of it. He was named International League player of the week this past week, hitting .414 (12-29) on the recent road trip with 8 doubles, 7 RBI and 4 runs scored over 7 games. Entering this week, Hague has taken over the league’s hitting league with a .350 average.

This is the second “player of the week” distinction this season awarded to a Bisons player. Chris Colabello received similar honors last month. Colabello has since been promoted to Toronto, where he has been performing very well.

When Reyes departed the Bisons clubhouse to join the parent club, Hague tweeted this note to Reyes, “Even though you are back to being a blue jay... you will always be my fav bison you’re the best!”

Matt Hague is not the only Bisons who is adding some offensive pop to the Buffalo lineup. Brad Glenn has hit four home runs in the month of May (as of Monday) and has posted a .435 average during that run. Another player worth watching is infielder Kevin Nolan, who was promoted from AA New Hampshire just last week and is already making a huge contribution here in Buffalo. Nolan hit .300 on the road trip since his promotion, and belted his first AAA home run in his debut against Columbus last week.

Manager Gary Allenson seemed pleased at the show of power at the plate that is helping the team. “Our best record is against our own division. We’re sort of struggling outside of it. We got a little different roster than when we started. Some of our guys are actually swinging the bats a lot better. Andy Burns is pretty consistent and is swinging the bat right now. (Brad) Glenn has brought his average up about 120 points, with power. Matt Hagues is who he is, a professional hitter. We got to get a few guys going, and to see those other guys contributing would be nice.”

As for the report on Reyes...“It went fine. He swung the bat well. He wasn’t affected by the injury that he had. He played good defense,” said Allenson. Then jokingly added, “Then he brought some good spreads to the game so the players were happy to have him.”

Admitting that he had not seen Hague’s tweet, Allenson said, “Enough of the guys know him from being in big league camp. He’s always got a smile on his face and just loves playing baseball. Honestly speaking, this is my 10th year managing at the AAA level and I haven’t had a lot of luck with the major league rehab guys there. So, I think he was 4 for 11, obviously was a big plus. He did a good job.”

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