The Orioles have a little bit of life left.
J.J. Hardy just delivered an RBI double off David Phelps in the top of the 13th inning to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead over the Yankees. It broke the team’s 0-for-15 streak with runners in scoring position.
Manny Machado got the inning started with an opposite-field double. He moved over to third base on a ground out by Nate McLouth. It might have been a close play if Robinson Cano decided to throw to third base, but he went the safe route to get the out at first. Hardy then followed with the double. The Orioles had the chance for more, but Clay Rapada got Chris Davis to ground out and Derek Lowe retired Adam Jones on a comebacker.
The Yankees have Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, and you guessed it, Alex Rodriguez due up in the bottom of the 13th. Meanwhile, Jim Johnson will try to save it for the Orioles. Oh, sweet narrative.
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.