Orioles interested in free agents Joe Saunders and Chris Capuano

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Jon Morosi of FOX Sports is reporting that the Orioles are talking with free agent starters Joe Saunders and Chris Capuano. The Orioles had previously shown interest in A.J. Burnett; their newfound interest in Saunders and Capuano could indicate that they have moved on in their pursuit of starting pitching.

Saunders pitched for the Orioles briefly in 2012, posting a 3.63 ERA in seven starts. The 32-year-old spent 2013 with the Mariners, finishing with a 5.26 ERA in 183 innings.

Capuano, 35, has spent the last two seasons with the Dodgers. He finished 2012 with a 3.72 over 33 starts. Last season, he made just 20 starts, suffering from a left calf strain, a strained lat in his pitching shoulder, and a strained left groin.

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.