This is somewhat unusual: Tom Werner, the CEO of the Boston Red Sox has taken to MLB.com to respond to Dan Shaughnessy’s accusing questions to David Ortiz about PED use and various media members’ accusations against Clay Buchholz about doctoring the baseball:
I fully acknowledge the right the media has to ask difficult questions and to express controversial opinions. Freedom of the press is fundamental in our culture.
They had the right, but was it right?
We’re in a new media world, and fact-less accusations stick. Those who publicly ask questions must take responsibility for their words … In today’s media world, the question — even if it’s false, inflammatory and without real basis — can become the story.
I get this. Particularly in the case of David Ortiz (the Buchholz accusations seem to have at least some basis to them). He’s upset about it and understandably so.
At the same time: the Red Sox front office has been notorious for years for floating anonymous smack about people against whom they have a beef, including to the very Boston Globe which Werner is now criticizing. So maybe, just maybe, there is a culture there to which his organization as at least partially contributed, yes?
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.