Tonawanda News — ”I think that’s a huge uplift we’ve seen. This is as big league as it gets for any AAA team to walk through these doors.”
The Bisons will field an experienced team to start the season, as 23 players have played at the Major League level for a combined 3,299 games.
Brown likes the mix of talent on the team. He said fans will enjoy watching young prospects like Anthony Gose and Moises Sierra progress throughout the season, and veterans guys like Ramon Ortiz and Ryan Langerhans will provide production and leadership in the clubhouse.
Starting at second base for the Herd this season is Buffalo native and St. Francis graduate Jim Negrych, who spent last season with AAA Syracuse. He played in 91 games, posting a .264 batting average with eight home runs and 39 RBI.
Negrych said many friends and family are planning to catch a few more Bisons games this season now that the 28-year-old lefty hitter is back home in Western New York.
”It’s definitely exciting (to be here),” he said. “I’ve had the opportunity to play in Buffalo a few times, but to actually play for the Bisons is something a lot of guys haven’t been able to say they could do (that grew up here). It’s an opportunity to come out and hopefully put people back in the stands here, go out and be successful and win a lot of baseball games.”
Negrych will man the middle infield with double play partner Ryan Goins, who is in his fifth season — all with Toronto. He played 136 games at AA New Hampshire of the Eastern League last year, where he hit .289 with seven home runs, 61 RBI, 15 stolen bases and 47 walks. His 158 total hits was tops in the league. Luis Jimenez, a AAA all-star with Tacoma last season, will play first base and Andy LaRoche, a member of the 2012 Pawtucket Governors Cup team, will play third base.