I watched it as it happened last night, and I still can’t believe my eyes. Three things are wonderful about the video below: 1) Cole Hamels has a glorious mustache; 2) Hamels and Cliff Lee are teaming up for some fan entertainment; and 3) that entertainment involves shooting hot dogs out of a pneumatic cannon.
Hamels had grown a perfectly-manicured beard which he maintained throughout spring training in Clearwater, but kept only the mustache as the team traveled north to Philadelphia to prepare for the regular season.
Click the picture below to check out the video.
Talking to the media about his decision to get involved with Hamels in the hot dog bonanza, Lee said, “I wanted to get close to that action, see what it was all about. Help Cole launch some hot dogs in the stands, it was pretty neat.” Lee then called Hamels’ mustache “a big-league mustache”.
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.