For the second time in two games, Ryan Langerhans belted a home run for the Buffalo Bisons.
The 33-year-old veteran outfielder leads the team with six on the season, helping the Herd to an International League-leading 31 homers.
On Sunday afternoon, he worked a 10-pitch at-bat in the sixth inning and ended it with a three-run homer into the left-field screen at Coca-Cola Field as the Bisons cruised to an 8-2 win over the Louisville Bats.
So it probably would be surprising to the 6,765 in attendance that Langerhans isn’t entirely pleased with his performances at the plate of late.
“I’m not feeling as patient as I’d like,” Langerhans said. “I’ve been fortunate to get some pitches to hit. [Saturday] I left a lot of guys on base and kind of regretted some of the at-bats. Today, fortunately, I was able to capitalize.”
Batting coach Jon Nunnally and manager Marty Brown “and I are still working pretty hard to try and get me where I need to be, but I’ll definitely take still being able to be productive while I try to find it.”
In Saturday’s game, Langerhans left five runners on base, including a poor at-bat with the bases loaded in the third inning when he popped up to short.
Sunday he went 1 for 4, though his fielder’s choice in the fourth caused all sorts of problems for the Louisville defense, which resulted in two errors on the play and a Buffalo run.
He’s batting .278, which by Bisons standards this season is a bit on the low side.
“I feel like right now I’m kind of just getting my body out of position and I’m not seeing and tracking the ball like I normally would,” Langerhans said. “It will get there. It’s just sometimes frustrating when you know it’s close and it’s just one little thing away.”
“Ryan’s always had good power,” Brown said. “He’s searching for some stuff with his swing a little bit. He’s been working at it really hard. … He’s a veteran-type guy. He knows himself. And he really brings a lot to the clubhouse and plays good defense so he’s a great asset for us to have.”
Langerhans is the typical Bison this season – a minor league free agent signed by the Toronto Blue Jays in the offseason with great experience and the potential to help Buffalo win.
He was drafted by Atlanta in 1998 and played his way through the Braves system, including spending 2004 with the Richmond team that lost in the Governors’ Cup finals – to the Bisons in Buffalo.
Langerhans spent the entire 2005 and 2006 seasons with the Braves, and since then has bounced between major league and Triple-A stints.
His experience and leadership have been part of a unique lineup for the Herd that includes plenty of veterans surrounding a few of the Blue Jays’ top prospects. And his approach to the ups and downs of professional baseball is part of the consistent theme of the Buffalo clubhouse – take care of yourself and everything else will fall into place.
“It’s nice because a lot of the guys have played together or against each other a lot and so there’s some familiarity there,” Langerhans said. “A lot of times you run into situations where you might have a lot of guys who are only focused on getting back to the big leagues or they’re bitter about where they’re at. And a lot of us have sat down and talked together.
“Everybody seems to be just enjoying their time here. The only way to get back up there is to take care of your own business. The young guys are doing a tremendous job also of learning and contributing and it’s just been a good mix all along.”