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Sabres closing in on Todd McLellan?

By Brandon J. Koch

The Buffalo Sabres are closing in on making Todd McLellan as head coach, with an announcement as early as tomorrow, Ed Duhatschek of the Athletic reports.

Now, just recently, John Wawrow of the AP is reporting that McLellan is on the Sabres radar, but doesn’t see a deal by Tuesday.

UPDATE from Bob McKenzie of TSN:

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Live blog: Bisons opening day

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By Brandon Koch

Welcome back to Buffalo Bisons baseball at Sahlen Field as the herd take on the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders.

Follow along with live updates here:

1st inning

Top: Jacob Waguespack strikes out two, gave up a double to third basemen Giovanny Urshela.

Bottom: Bisons score three runs off three hits. It started with a Bo Bichette four pitch walk,  follow by a Eric Sogard double, then back to back hits by Anthony Alford and Cavan Biggio.

2nd inning

Top: A one-two-three inning for Waguespack with another two strikeouts.

Bottom: Gio Gonzalez bounces back from the 1st inning. Roemon Fields works a walk, then Bichette grounds into a double play in his second at-bat to end the inning.

3rd

Top: Amburgey singles, but that’s all the Railriders could do in the 3rd. Waguespack with another strikeout, throwing 33 strikes so far, approaching 50 pitches.

Bottom: Biggio hits his first homerun as a member of the Bisons. A two-run shot over the right field porch. Bisons up 5-0 through three innings.

4th

Top: Another two strikeout inning for Waguespack, who now has seven strikeouts through four.

Bottom: Gonzalez is still in the game for Scranton with nobody seen warming up in the bullpen.

Reese McGuire gets the inning started with a bunt single, followed by a line drive base hit up the middle by Andrew Guillotte.

Roemon Fields gets his first RBI of 2019 following a single.

Action warming in the bullpen for Scranton.

Bo B gets an RBI, Sogard a sacrifice fly and it’s 8-0. Bitchette caught stealing 2nd. Biggio gets his first out of the game to end the inning.

5th

Top: Patterson with a nice play at first to get shortstop Katoh out.

Lipka beats out Sogard’s throw for an infield single. RHP Corry Copping warming up for the Bisons.

McGuire picks off Mike Ford to end the half inning. Scranton scores one in the 5th.

Bottom: Adonis Rosa is now in for the Railriders, he works a quick inning.

6th

Top: A quick four minute half inning as Waguespack is rolling for the herd.

Bottom: Nothing for the Bisons in the 6th.

7th

Top: Copping struggles in the 7th, Kyle Nigashioka doubles, followed by a homerun from Matt Lipka. A 27 pitch inning Copping gives up two runs.

Bottom: Sogard grounds out to second, Alford strikes out looking.

Biggio goes the other way on a shift for a base hit, he’s 3-4.

8th

Top: Barnes now in for Buffalo, looking to finish this game out. A three ground out inning.

Bottom: Burns singles, McGuire and Guillotte strike out and Fields grounds out. That should do it for Buffalo on offense today.

9th

Top: Barnes goes one-two-three and the Bisons win on opening day by a score of 8-3.

POSTGAME:

 

Storylines to watch: Young Jays make next step

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By Brandon J. Koch

After a long offseason of cold temperatures and snow, baseball is finally back in downtown Buffalo.

There’s excitement in the air at newly named Sahlen Field, some of the top prospects in all of baseball start their 2019 season with the herd.

Here are some storylines:

Bo and Cav

There’s an abundance of youth in the Bison’s infield. Shortstop Bo Bichette and second baseman Cavan Biggio make their triple A debuts.

Bichette is the Blue Jays’ No. 2 prospect and will look to be a centerpiece in Buffalo’s lineup. In 131 games last season with double A New Hampshire, Bichette hit 11 homeruns, 74 RBIs and a .286 batting average.

Biggio is the 10th ranked prospect in the a Jays’ system. The 23 year-old hit 26 homeruns in double A during 2018, can he translate that power to triple A?

How long will Vlad Jr stay?

The top prospect in all of baseball is currently rehabbing an oblique injury that was sustained on March 8th. He’s making his way towards Buffalo, but who knows for how long. Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said last week that if Vlad gets hot in triple A, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be in the big leagues. Guerrero hit 20 home runs, 78 RBIs and a 1.073 OPS in the minors last season.

Starting pitching

The herd start the season with the rotation of Jacob Waguespac, Shawn Morimando, Conor Fisk, Jordan Romano and David Paulino. Can Buffalo get consistent pitching throughout 2019? The herd was in the bottom half of most pitching categories in triple A in 2018.

Bullpen

Danny Barnes and Justin Shafer are the stronghold of Buffalo’s pen. RHP Derek Law comes in with over 100 career games in the majors with the Giants. He has a career ERA of a 2.97 in the minors.

Report: Bills are signing OL Quinton Spain

By Brandon J. Koch

The Bills are adding to their offensive line.

SportsTrust advisors tweeted out that former Tennessee Titans guard Quinton Spain is signing with the Bills.

Spain has started 48 games in 4 seasons with the Titans. He’s expected to compete for a starting spot at guard.

A potentially nice value signing for Brandon Beane

Report: Bills release Chris Ivory

By Brandon J. Koch

It only took one season for the Bills to release running back Chris Ivory.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reporting that after the signing of Frank Gore, the Bills are moving on from those 2018 free agent acquisition.

Ivory had 385 rushing yards and 205 receiving yards in 13 games last season.

This would set up a day two or three running back selection for Beane and company in next months draft.

Report: EJ Gaines is back with the Bills

By Brandon J. Koch

The Buffalo Bills are adding to their secondary, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Cornerback EJ Gaines is back on a one year deal worth about $3.6 million dollars.

Gaines played the 2017 season with the Bills, recording 58 tackles and 1 interception.

More to come.

Jordan Phillips has a classic response to Antonio Brown’s post

By Brandon J. Koch

Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips is always sticking up for Buffalo.

Bills Fanatics’ posted Brown’s photo on their account and Phillips replied to it in the most classic, funny way.

When he signed his contract back on March 4th, Phillips told NYUP.com that “Buffalo is home.”

Antonio Brown trolls Bills

By Brandon J. Koch

Another classy move by Antonio Brown, taking to Twitter two weeks after being traded to the Oakland Raiders.

Brown tweeted “stop playing #fakenews #historical.”

On March 7th, when Ian Rapoport reported that Brown was going to the Bills, the NFL world erupted. That night brown replied to the NFL’s Instagram account, “fake news🚨🚨”

I’m sure this will make Bills fans love Brown even more.

Bills sign Maurice Alexander

By Brandon J. Koch

The Bills sign a quality special teamer and a backup safety in Maurice Alexander.

He expressed his excitement on Twitter:

When Sean McDermott said he wasn’t happy with special teams and that they’re an important part, he meant it.

The Bills have significantly upgraded that unit, which was dead last in 2018.

Report: Bills sign tackle turned tight end Jake fisher

By Brandon J. Koch

The Buffalo Bills are signing a tight end that once was a left tackle.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweeted that the team is signing 2015 2nd round pick Jake Fisher on a one year prove it deal.

Fisher, 25, at 6-foot-6-inch, has gone from the weight of 305 to 285 in his transition to becoming a tight end and was running routes with quarterbacks in California.

The Bills other tight ends are Tyler Kroft and Jason Croom.