The Toronto Blue Jays are hopeful that next year when they shuffle players to and from Triple-A, their affiliation will be with Buffalo.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos confirmed Sunday morning that the American League club will be actively pursuing a partnership next season with the Buffalo Bisons, which plays in the International League.
For the past four years the Blue Jays top minor-league affiliate has been the Las Vegas 51s of the Pacific Coast League.
While Anthopoulos said he has enjoyed that partnership, the obvious detraction is the huge distance that separates the two cities, making it a more difficult task to shuttle players back and forth.
“It all comes down to geography,” Anthopoulos said before the Blue Jays started their final game of their weekend series against the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre. “Las Vegas has been great for us but at this stage it’s something we want to take a look at [the Bisons].”
The length of the agreement and the working partnership with the Triple-A team are also important factors to be considered, he said.
Partnering with the Bisons would be ideal for Toronto with Buffalo just a 90-minute car ride away.
Sunday marks the first day that Major League teams can officially start talking with minor league teams about affiliations and decisions will be made within two weeks.
Up until this season the New York Mets have been the Bisons Triple-A affiliation, but that relationship is said to have soured.
Jeff Mathis was slated to be Toronto’s starting catcher for Sunday’s game but he was a late scratch after coming down with flu like symptoms.
J.P. Arencibia will get the start behind the plate with Yan Gomes handling the designated hitter duties.
Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion was scratched from Sunday’s lineup against Boston with a sore big toe on his right foot.
It’s the second time in three games that Encarnacion has been unavailable — he sat out Friday’s loss with lingering pain in his left wrist, one day after being hit by a pitch from Seattle’s Felix Hernandez.
Encarnacion hit his 40th home run Thursday, topping 100 RBIs for the first time. He went 0 for 1 with three walks Saturday, and is two homers behind Texas outfielder Josh Hamilton for the major league lead.
With files from The Associated Press