Padilla brings swine flu, high ERA to L.A.

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padilla_090819.jpgIn a move that is destined to turn Chavez Ravine into a giant yawn contest, the Dodgers have signed former Rangers pitcher Vicente Padilla to a minor league contract. Talk about a low-risk, low-reward move.

Padilla will pitch at Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday before joining the big league team, and is expected to start against the Colorado Rockies on Aug. 27.

The good news on this signing is the Dodgers won’t have to pay Padilla much more than their ball boys, as the Rangers will eat the $8 million he’s owed after dumping him a couple days ago. The bad news is that he isn’t much better than the ball boys, even when you take into account his recent bout with swine flu.

(Speaking of swine flu, apparently the virus has hit a Japanese baseball team pretty hard. The team’s name? The Nippon Ham Fighters. Not kidding.)

Padilla turns 32 in late September, and at this point in his career, what you see is what you get. He’s going to walk some guys. He’s going to hit some guys (eighth all-time among active pitchers). And he’s going to give up some home runs (although, only 12 so far this season).His line this season (8-6, 4.92), is about on target with his career line (94-85, 4.36).

Is Padilla really any better than Charlie Haeger, Eric Stults or James McDonald? Seems doubtful, but with Hiroki Kuroda heading to the disabled list, I guess it doesn’t hurt to stock up on warm bodies.

Throw enough junk at the wall, something might stick.

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If you Twitter, and have been diagnosed as swine-flu free, you can follow me at @Bharks.

Report: Pirates to convert JB Shuck into two-way player

JB Shuck
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Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that the Pirates have decided to convert outfielder JB Shuck into a two-way player. Recent comments relayed from the club’s director of player development, Larry Broadway, indicated that the outfielder would be coached in developing his pitching skills while working at Triple-A Indianapolis.

Per Broadway, the change would be enacted to help the veteran outfielder develop some much-needed versatility in the majors, where he’s only ever been limited to outfield and DH responsibilities. Well, except for the two games in which he pitched an inning of relief: once, against the Nationals in a blowout 11-4 loss in 2016, then in a similarly painful loss to the Diamondbacks this past April. During the latter outing, he finished the game with a 13-pitch ninth inning after allowing just one hit and one walk.

Add to that one minor-league outing in 2012, and the 31-year-old Shuck has pitched just three times over the course of his 12-season career in pro ball. While he has three years of experience on the mound from his college days, he’ll need quite a bit of preparation to handle the kind of workload expected from a two-way outfielder/reliever: 20+ innings pitched over a season and 20+ games played as a designated hitter or position player.

Still, his lack of experience doesn’t seem to faze Broadway, at least not this early in the process. There’s no word yet on how soon Shuck would be expected to debut his new skillset on a major-league level.