Antonini Wants to Stay in Buffalo

Antonini made his Triple-A debut on Friday

BUFFALO, NY - It did not take long for left-hander Michael Antonini to make his Triple-A debut after six starts with Binghamton to begin the season. It was a rather flat debut for Antonini, but given the Bisons need for pitching, he figures to stick around for at least one more start and he wants to make the most of it.

The Bisons, in need of a major overhaul have begun shuffling players in and out of the locker room in Buffalo, hoping to bring about a change to the season. As of late, the Herd has sent down Nick Evans, who bat has been pretty silent this year, to make room on the roster for former Binghamton pitcher Michael Antonini.

With the lack of offense the Bisons have had this year, their pitching and defense are the two components that have been fairly reliable and consistent thus far, keeping them from fall off the deep end entirely.

That's why the organization promoted Antonini from the B-Mets. The left-hander has been solid so far this season, racking up a 4-1 record in Double-A with a serviceable 4.88 ERA. He's not walking too many guys that come to the plate - 12 in 31 1/3 innings of work - and he sits down enough to get the job done with 26 strikeouts.

Antonini is what the Bisons need; a consistent player who can potentially keep them in the ball game. The 23-year-old lefty is someone new and fresh, certainly a player that can only develop and gain experience to help the Mets organization.

Antonini made his Triple-A debut, throwing the first game of a double-header for against the Gwinnett Braves. In the first inning, the Bisons in a rare feat of offensive prowess, plugged in five runs to start the game and give Antonini some support for his outing.

In the first two innings, Antonini showed the he had enough movement and variety to keep batters of balance, striking out four players and shutting down the Braves offensively with a few scattered hits.

His start slipped away in the third inning as he gave up four earned runs over the next 1 1/3 innings. Manager Ken Oberkfell felt that the lefty had seen enough action and pulled him from the game, replacing him with Eddie Kunz. After the double header, Oberkfell commented on the performance by the lefty.

"For his first Triple A outing he battled," said the Bisons manager. "I think he lost command of his pitches more than anything he was getting the ball up, and if he gets the ball up he's going to get hit like most pitchers."

Oberkfell would have liked to have seen Antonini get a few more innings under his belt in his debut, but was fortunate enough to stave off an offensive surge from the Gwinnett Braves with the Bisons bullpen coming through, pulling out a 6-5 victory for Buffalo.

"It was a good experience, first time at this level obviously and just trying to get out there and do well and just be successful, the third inning got to be a little bit, four runs, but we were able to win the game and that was the important thing," Antonini explained.

The transition from Double-A to Triple-A undeniably means that batters are better hitters and are capable of really exposing a pitchers weaknesses.

"It's kind of the same as Double-A, but if you make a mistake they're going to make you pay a lot more here," Antonini said, "I thought I did well pretty well hiding the emotions and hopefully next outing will be a lot better."

The Bisons have not set a specific time frame for how long Antonini will remain at this level, but, if he improves upon his last start, he could potentially remain a fixture for a ball club scrapping for wins that are good, bad, or ugly.

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