Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez had to leave this afternoon’s match against the Cubs after falling into the Wrigley Field stands attempting to catch a David DeJesus pop-up. Ramirez ranged to his right near the bullpen and snagged the ball before his momentum took him into the front row over the brick wall. He left with a “jammed shoulder”, per Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times, and was replaced by Nick Punto after going 0-for-2 with a walk.
Via SB Nation, here is a .gif of the catch that caused Ramirez’s injury:
Losing Ramirez for any length of time would be a huge blow for the red-hot Dodgers. Since he returned from a strained left hamstring, the Dodgers have won 36 of 53 games (.679). Ramirez has posted a 1.063 OPS and been one of the most valuable players in the National League.
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.