Report: Kelly Shoppach used Adrian Gonzalez’s phone to set up Red Sox meeting

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Sources told the New York Daily News that former Red Sox catcher Kelly Shoppach, who has since been traded to the Mets, used Adrian Gonzalez’s phone to express the team’s displeasure with Bobby Valentine last month, leading to the meeting that has caused such a stir this week.

Three sources suggested to the paper that Shoppach sent the message, a charge that Shoppach denied when asked. Gonzalez refused to answer questions on the subject Saturday.

The Daily News suggests that Shoppach’s message came with Gonzalez’s consent:

A small group of players that has been unhappy with Valentine this season — a group that included Shoppach, according to a source familiar with the circumstances — was complaining about the manager in late July and engaged Gonzalez in the conversation. A member of the group suggested that the only way to bring about action would be to voice their problems to ownership. Gonzalez was tired of hearing the constant grumbling and agreed with them that a message from him — the team’s highest-paid player — would get management’s attention.

If that’s the truth, Gonzalez comes off worse than had he sent the message himself. For a nine-year veteran and one of the game’s highest-paid players to let a journeyman backup catcher speak for him reflects terribly on him.

Then again, we’ll probably never know the truth about how exactly the sequence of events went down.

Report: Pirates to convert JB Shuck into two-way player

JB Shuck
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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.