UPDATE: Yup, he vultured it! After blowing his first save of the season, Jose Valverde gets the win when Mark Melancon couldn’t keep the Tigers off the bases and Alfredo Aceves couldn’t keep Austin Jackson from singling home the winning run.
4:08 PM: Jose Valverde was absolutely perfect for the Tigers last year, saving all 49 of his 49 save opportunities. I guess it’s a new season, however, because he just blew his first chance in 2012.
Justin Verlander pitched eight shutout innings, and Valverde came in to pitch the ninth with a 2-0 lead. He then gave up a double to Dustin Pedroia, a single to Adrian Gonzalez, a sac fly to David Ortiz which scored Pedroia, and a triple to Ryan Sweeney which scored pinch runner Darnell McDonald. The top of the ninth ended with the score tied at two.
We’ll update if Valverde vultures a win. Some pitchers just know how to win, you see.
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.