The Angels’ two-year, $8 million marriage with left-handed reliever Sean Burnett is off to rocky start.
Burnett has made just 13 total appearances this season because of elbow issues and now Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times passes along word that he has been shut down for the final two months due to ongoing joint discomfort. He might need surgery, but it won’t be the Tommy John kind.
Burnett posted a dominant 2.38 ERA and 57/12 K/BB ratio in 56 2/3 innings last season for the Nationals and parlayed that into a nice free agent deal in Anaheim. He will make $3.75 million in 2014 and carries a $4.5 million club option for 2015.
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.