Shelley Duncan

Duncan_Shelley

The Diamondbacks signed Shelley Duncan to a minor league deal

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This is of little interest to people not named Duncan and people who are not my daughter, but let the record reflect that the Arizona Diamondbacks have signed Shelley Duncan to a minor league deal.

Duncan’s father, Dave Duncan, is an assistant to Dbacks GM Kevin Towers. Shelley is an Arizona native and played his college ball at Arizona. Duncan hit .182 in 20 games for the Rays last year It’s unlikely that he’s anything more than organizational depth at this point.

Rays ink minor league deals with Shelley Duncan, Jamey Wright and Juan Carlos Oviedo

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays have agreed to minor league contracts with outfielder Shelley Duncan and right-handed pitchers Jamey Wright and Juan Carlos Oviedo.

Duncan batted just .203/.288/.388 in 264 plate appearances last season with the Indians. The 33-year-old does have some power but seems highly doubtful to crack the Rays’ Opening Day roster.

Wright, on the other hand, could find a spot in middle relief. He posted a 3.72 ERA (aided by an impressive 67.3% groundball rate) in 67 2/3 innings last summer with the Dodgers. The 38-year-old faced a total of 306 batters in 2012 and allowed only two home runs.

Oviedo — formerly known as Leo Nunez — underwent Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last September and is not expected to be fully recovered from that procedure until the very end of the 2013 campaign. His particular minor league deal includes a club option for the 2014 season.

Don’t blame the layoff; blame Justin Verlander for Game 1 loss

Justin Verlander
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Done in by poor fastball location, Justin Verlander got lit up by the Giants in Game 1 of the World Series, surrendering five runs and two Pablo Sandoval homers in four innings. Some facts from the outing:

– It was just the third in three years in which he failed to go five innings. The last was in the 2011 ALCS, when he allowed three runs in four innings in a loss to the Rangers. The only other time in the last three years that he was pulled before five innings was June 22, 2010 against the Mets (5 ER in 2 IP).

– Sandoval’s first homer was the fifth ever allowed by Justin Verlander on an 0-2 pitch, once in 2006 (Tadahito Iguchi), 2007 (Billy Butler), 2010 (Torii Hunter) and 2011 (Shelley Duncan).

– The five runs allowed matched his high total in 26 career starts against NL teams. He also gave up five runs in the aforementioned start against the Mets and in 2009 against the Cardinals.

– His 38-pitch third inning was his high total for any inning this year.

Of course, some will blame the rust for the Tigers’ struggles tonight. It’s an easy narrative, having been carried over from 2006 when they lost the World Series to the Cardinals after a lengthy layoff.

Verlander, though, wasn’t particularly rusty, having made this start on seven days’ rest. That’s just one more day off than he had for Game 1 of the ALDS. The offense wasn’t great, but it did come up with eight hits. One problem was the Tigers got nothing from the bottom of the order, which was also a big reason why the team had a disappointing offense in the regular season.

But the Tigers lost tonight because Verlander couldn’t find a way to keep them in the game. Maybe he deserves the free pass — he’s the biggest reason they’re here in the first place — but it sure would have been nice if he could have figured out a way to grind out a six-inning, three- or four-run outing, both to aid the pen and help the chances of a comeback. He needed some finesse tonight, and he simply didn’t have any.