ST. LOUIS — Less than 24 hours after a crazy, exhausting game ended they strap it on again in a few hours and play another. To quote Earl Weaver for the second time today: This ain’t a football game. They do this every day.
For the Red Sox, the only real change is the exile of Jarrod Saltalamacchia — really, after that throw on the obstruction play he may be on a train to Siberia — the insertion of David Ross and bumping Stephen Drew up to the seven hole:
The Cardinals have a substitution of their own, along with a flip-flop down low: Daniel Descalso is in for Pete Kozma and hitting eighth. Jon Jay is moved up to sixth, David Freese is down to seventh:
Matt Carpenter 2B
Carlos Beltran RF
Matt Holliday LF
Matt Adams 1B
Yadier Molina C
Jon Jay CF
David Freese 3B
Daniel Descalso SS
Lance Lynn SP
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.