Scott Radinsky has taken the fall for Cleveland’s collapse, as the Indians fired him as pitching coach less than a year after promoting him to the position. Triple-A pitching coach Ruben Niebla has been named the interim replacement.
Cleveland has the second-worst team ERA in the league at 4.75, along with the second-fewest strikeouts and most walks, which is why the Indians are 51-60 despite an offense that has been right around average.
Of course, how much of that can be blamed on Radinsky is unclear and not being able to work wonders on guys like Derek Lowe and Josh Tomlin isn’t exactly a fire-able offense. On the other hand Justin Masterson has regressed following a breakout 2011 season and Ubaldo Jimenez continues to be a mess, which were perhaps Radinsky’s two most important jobs this year.
Before being named Indians pitching coach last fall Radinsky pitched 11 seasons in the majors, served as Cleveland’s bullpen coach, and was the lead singer of a punk rock band.
General manager Chris Antonetti has already said that manager Manny Acta will be back in 2013.
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.