You know those “HBT Extra” videos we’ve been doing? Well, we’re going to start doing them daily. The Wednesday “Extra” will still be a three or four minute deal, but these daily ones will be shorter and for the most part will concentrate on a couple of the day’s featured games.
As with all things in life, this is a work in progress. The obsessives among you won’t find startling analysis in today’s installment — it really is just a look-ahead thing — but if you have some ideas of where you’d like to see this feature go, by all means, post your ideas in the comments.
But please save the effort if all you’re going to write is “we want more Tiffany.” We already know that.
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.