Adrian Gonzalez is really, really happy to be back in California. And he’s comfortable enough there to throw some bombs back in Boston’s direction. Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times reports:
As for why the Boston media didn’t take to him, he said, “They didn’t like that I was a calm person. I won’t throw my helmet, I won’t scream, I won’t use bad words if I strike out. That’s what they want over there … They took me over there and I didn’t change. My intensity, how I prepared, everything was the same. When they took me over there, they took me over there to drive in runs. And I did that.”
I’ll agree that the Boston media prefers it when guys are more interesting, but unless I missed something I never sensed that anyone had it in for Gonzalez especially. He caught heat, understandably so, with that whole Kelly Shoppach/text message fiasco. When he had a poor first half of this season it was noted. But it’s not like he had people down on him like Beckett or Crawford or Buchholz or anyone.
It was obviously not a good fit for him, both culturally and competitively — Hernandez notes how the Green Monster hurt Gonzalez instead of helped him like many thought it would — but there are guys who have gotten a way harder time thrown their way in Boston than Gonzalez. Indeed, if it wasn’t for the opportunity to dump Beckett and Crawford in this deal, it seems like Boston may very well have wanted to keep him around.
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.