Bianucci Adds Extra Punch To First-Place Indians

SPOKANE — The Spokane Indians are rocking the rest of the Northwest League, as they have a six-game lead in the Eastern Division. And there’s a new guy on the block should only make the Tribe harder to handle.

New changes have been made to the Indians roster, as the Texas Rangers’ eighth-round draft pick, Mike Bianucci, joins the team after a spot opened up early last week.

“He replaces a pretty popular guy in Tim Rodriguez, who got promoted to Bakersfield,” says Indians manager Tim Hulett. “So we traded one good athlete for another.”

“Yeah, ya know, I thought I had a couple more things to fine tune before I came out here,” Bianucci says. “So I went to the Cape [Cape Cod League] for a month and played there, fine tuned my skills and came out here.”

Bianucci is no stanger to the game, as he played three years at Auburn University, and it just so happens to be the same college Hulett’s son played at.

“Ya know, I recognized his last name, and I was like, that name sounds so familiar,” says Bianucci, “and it turns out his younger, older son went to Auburn and played there, and it’s good to have someone up here that came from where I’m from.”

“We got a lot in common,” Hulett says. “We’ve already told some stories and so it’s good to have an Auburn kid here.”

Bianucci had a chance to be drafted by the Los Angeles Angels after his sophomore year in college, but he says even that extra year in the Southeastern Conference prepared him for minor league ball.

“Yeah, I mean, the SEC always draws big crowds,” says Bianucci. “I mean, last night was probably like a normal crowd in the SEC, and when you play in a big school like that, and a big conference, I mean it just makes it so much easier to transition when you come here.”

Bianucci knows he’s lucky, because it’s not often that you join a team in the middle of the season that’s at the top. But having a polished player like him could keep them there.