Mike Zunino out six weeks with fractured hamate bone

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Mike Zunino exited last night’s game after taking a foul ball off his left hand and the Mariners catcher has been diagnosed with a fractured hamate bone.

Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that Zunino is expected to miss six weeks, meaning the rookie is no sure thing to play again this season.

Zunino was called up on June 12 despite hitting .238 with a horrible strikeout-to-walk ratio (albeit with lots of power) at Triple-A and the former No. 3 overall pick has predictably struggled in the majors, hitting .242 with two homers and a .659 OPS in 29 games while striking out 26 times compared to nine walks.

Seattle released Kelly Shoppach to make room for Zunino last month, leaving 41-year-old Henry Blanco atop their catching depth chart for the moment.

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.