Albert Pujols played Sunday after his wife gave birth early that morning, but he’s not in the lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Rangers. Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times says it’s “believed” that he’s back in St. Louis with his wife.
Pujols’s wife gave birth to the couple’s fifth child and third daughter at 3:30 a.m. Sunday. Oddly enough, that day came nine months and 10 days after Pujols inked his $254 million contract with the Angels.
Pujols’ absence comes with the Angels opening up a three-game series against the Rangers at home tonight. They’re 7 1/2 games back of Texas, 4 1/2 games back of Oakland and three games back of the second wild card with 15 games left to play.
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.