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Newest IronPig Reyes happy to be back; 'Pigs lose again at home

BaseballMajor League BaseballLehigh Valley IronPigsPhiladelphia PhilliesAtlanta BravesMike NickeasSpring Training

Jo Jo Reyes has pitched in Atlanta.

He's been to Rome. Georgia.

He's been to Myrtle Beach, though not to play golf.

He's even been to State College, but with a glove and a baseball, not a football.

After spending the better part of the last two years being in South Korea, Reyes is sure of one thing: He'd rather be in Rome, Myrtle Beach or State College.

"I was miserable," Reyes said. "It was the first time I really didn't want to go to the field to go play baseball. I think that was the turning point. I think the stats show I wasn't having fun and didn't want to play baseball over there."

Reyes now is reunited with IronPigs manager Dave Brundage, who was with him during Reyes' stint in the Braves organization with Triple-A Richmond/Gwinnett.

Released during his second year with Korean Baseball Organization's SK Wyverns, Reyes will make his Lehigh Valley debut tonight in the second game of a two-game series against visiting Buffalo.

Reyes was 10-20 with a 5.37 ERA in Korea, but Brundage believes better days are ahead for the 6-foot-2, 220-pound lefty.

"I always thought he had more in the tank than what was presented," the IronPigs manager said. "I think he's good enough to pitch in the big leagues. I always saw him as someone who could be a fourth or fifth starter in the big leagues."

Reyes recently threw two simulated games in extended spring training after signing with the Phillies.

He has a 12-26 record with a 6.05 ERA in 70 major-league games with the Braves (2007-10), Blue Jays (2011) and Orioles (2011), 62 of which were starts.

The 2003 second-round pick of the Braves, now 29, is hoping better surroundings lead to better results.

"[The Korean Baseball Organization] helped me stabilize my financial means and help out my family," Reyes said. "I couldn't pass it up. You take a little sacrifice for the family, but the ultimate goal is to play in the major leagues.

"Nobody has a goal to be a Korean Hall of Famer."

Another home game, another loss

Buffalo limped into Coca-Cola Park with a seven-game losing streak, failing to score more than three runs in any of those setbacks. The Bisons were 1-34 when trailing after eight innings.

But Lehigh Valley helped Buffalo improve on those numbers and maintained its Triple A-worst home record.

The Bisons, with the help of a passed ball, scored the tying run in the ninth inning and used another passed ball and three walks en route to a seven-run 10th to win 11-4 in front of 10,060 humans and 317 dogs on Dog Day No. 3.

The IronPigs dropped to 20-31 at home, despite a solid return from David Buchanan, last pitched 11 days earlier for the Phillies.

Sebastian Valle's two-run double had given Lehigh Valley (49-54) a 4-3 lead in the fifth.

That held up until the ninth, when Jared Goedert walked, took second on a wild pitch, third one out later on Ryan Goins' infield single and scored on Mike Nickeas' sacrifice fly against Cesar Jimenez.

Jon Diaz and Ryan Goins had two-run singles in the 10th against Jeremy Horst (4-2).

There was controversy during the top of the third inning when the Bisons scored twice to take a 3-1 lead on Ryan Schimpf's two-out, two-run triple to right.

First-base umpire Jon Saphire originally signaled a ground-rule double. IronPigs right fielder Cam Perkins then didn't chase down the ball as hard as he would have if it were a live ball.

But the umpires allowed Kevin Pillar to score from first and Schimpf to stay at third.

Brundage debated the call for more than five minutes, but to no avail. He opted not to play the game under protest.

"I told them I was going to," he said. "Then they told me that I wouldn't win. I didn't know that they were judge and jury. That irritated me."

Roster moves

Cesar Hernandez, who played in 104 games last season with the IronPigs, likely will make his Triple-A debut today after spending parts of this year with the Phillies and Double-A Reading.

Hernandez was sent down from Philadelphia to make room for Reid Brignac.

Koyie Hill was outrighted off the Phillies' 40-man roster. The veteran catcher could be back with the IronPigs by the end of the homestand.

thousenick@mcall.com

Twitter @TomHousenick

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