Mark DeRosa is batting just .194 following offseason wrist surgery and hasn’t been himself since first suffering the injury in the middle of last season, hitting .224 with a .293 on-base percentage and .374 slugging percentage in 83 games.
DeRosa is scheduled to be examined by a wrist specialist today after expressing his frustration with the injury during a radio interview yesterday:
I’m starting to question some things. I’m gonna get my wrist looked at. I’m not happy with the way I’m swinging the bat. I’ve gotten some pitches to drive over the last week or two that I’m just not getting to. I’m starting to wonder if it’s something physical. I mean, a slump can only last for so long. It seems like ever since I hurt this thing it’s been downhill.
DeRosa is 35 years old, so an age-based decline in ability is also possible, but he hit .277 with a .361 on-base percentage and .477 slugging percentage in the 216 games before suffering the injury. San Francisco handed out matching two-year, $12 million contracts to DeRosa and Freddy Sanchez this offseason, and just 30 games later they’re almost surely regretting both deals.
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.