Pearce began his rehab assignment with Buffalo on Saturday, going 1 for 3 in the “Wings” 6-2 loss to the Rochester “Plates” in 10 innings.
The game was the third in a four-game series where the Bisons and Red Wings ditched their traditional names and uniforms in favor of themed uniforms showcasing popular food items from both cities.
Pearce, who served as the DH, was seeing his first action since going on the DL on May 3. Pearce missed a couple of games prior to going on the DL due to a tightness in his ribcage. It is still unknown of the two are related.
“It feels great. It’s been a long recovery, but I’m excited to get back,” Pearce said. “And I’m excited to get back to Toronto and help the team.”
Pearce had two hard hits to left field in his first and fourth at-bats and drew a walk in his second trip to the plate. His opposite-field single in the sixth was the first but if the day for the Bisons.
As a whole Pearce was patient at the plate and worked deep into counts.
“I wanted to see a lot of pitches today and I saw them,” Pearce said. “That’s the plan. (You don’t) wanna get out in two pitches. I had a plan and I was able to stick to it the whole day. So it was a good day.”
Bison manager Bobby Meacham said that he thought Pearce had a productive evening at the plate. Especially given the long layoff he has had since his last game action.
“That’s the key. He swung that bat with no reservation,” Meacham said. “Sometimes you get those oblique Injuries like he had and you’re a little be tentative, but he swung the bat well.”
Pearce also looked good when he ran the bases hard in the fourth inning. Dwight Smith Jr drilled the ball to right field. Pearce thought it was going to fall in for a hit and instantly when full steam to third base. But Rochester right fielder Jordan Cave made an amazing catch and then threw to first base to pick Pearce off.
Pearce will DH again on Sunday. Then, after Monday’s scheduled day off he will play outfield during games at Pawtucket on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Knowing that his rehab assignment will last multiple games is helping to put Pearce in the right frame of mind to not rush his recovery.
“For sure,” Pearce said. ” I don’t want to get up to the club and not be ready. I wanna come down here, see a lot of pitches get into a groove and then go up there and help them. It’s part of the process. Sometimes you might be down here a little bit longer then you’d like to but my ultimate goal is when I go up there I want to be ready.”
A two-run blast by Rowdy Tellez in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings.
But the momentum swing didn’t last long as the Plates scored all four runs in the next inning. Nick Gordon drove in three then scored himself after Bison catcher Danny Jansen made an errant thrown to first base in an attempt to get Gordon, who then rounded the bases.
Stephen Gonsalves picked up the win as he struck out five and kept the Bison batters off balance getting them to chase fastballs that were high in the zone.
“Yeah that’s what I thought,” Meacham said. “I came in after that second inning and thought man if we don’t chase so much we might get some walks and get something going. It’s one of those things where sometimes the ball gets on ya quickly and if you’re not used to seeing certain things and certain kinds of pitchers. So maybe he surprised us a bit.”