Jason at IIATMS has expanded his writing roster recently, and one of his additions is Larry, a lawyer/executive with significant experience in all matters relating to HGH and PED testing. Last night he wrote an extensive and quite entertaining Q&A regarding HGH testing, use and effects that is must-read material for anyone who tries to talk intelligently about this kind of stuff on the interwebs. There’s masses of scientific information-made-accessible in the post, but since I’m a big apologist and everything, this quote stuck out at me:
It seems that when it comes to anti-doping, perception is more important
than reality. The players perceive that HGH is performance-enhancing.
The fans perceive that HGH is performance-enhancing. The anti-doping
forces believe that they have a foolproof test to catch the athletes
using HGH. IN ALL LIKELIHOOD, NONE OF THESE PERCEPTIONS ARE TRUE. Yet
the perceptions takes on lives of their own. It seems likely that
baseball WILL go forward with some kind of HGH testing. The only
question is when.
Put that together with all of the difficulty Larry points out regarding the creation and implementation of HGH tests and you quickly realize that the discussion about HGH use in baseball is really more about politics than it is about performance enhancement.
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.