Shaun Marcum cleared to make Mets debut on Saturday

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Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports that right-hander Shaun Marcum has been cleared to make his Mets debut on Saturday against the Phillies.

Marcum was placed on the disabled list at the end of spring training because of biceps tendinitis and then developed neck inflammation while rehabbing his arm. But he has looked sharp in recent outings at extended spring training and is feeling strong.

Marcum signed a one-year, $4 million free agent contract with the Mets this past winter after posting a 3.70 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 109/41 K/BB ratio in 124 innings (21 starts) last season for the Brewers.

The Mets’ rotation will soon be Matt Harvey, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee, Zack Wheeler and Marcum.

That’s a very talented group of starting pitchers. And only Marcum is over 30 years old.

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.