Chone Figgins is trying to make the Dodgers’ roster. He gave a big interview to the L.A. Times about his dark time in Seattle. He mentioned one incident which set the whole relationship on a bad path, apparently:
He said the Mariners had competed well that season against the Angels and he thought Seattle would be good for him.
“It kind of says it all,” he said, “when you have just signed a $38-million contract [four years] and they pinch-hit for you in the fourth game.”
I presume he was talking about this game, which was actually the sixth game of his first season with the Mariners. The guy who pinch-hit for him: Ken Griffey, Jr. The pitcher was a righty. Griffey got a hit and and the go-ahead and game-winning RBI. At that point in the season Figgins was 4-for-29 and he had committed an error that game.
Granted, Ken Griffey Jr. was a shell of himself in 2010 so it’s not like a giant, scary stud was taking Figgins’ place. But you gotta be pretty damn full of yourself to say that being pinch-hit for by Ken Griffey Jr. on the Seattle Mariners — with the pinch-hitting appearance resulting in a game-winning RBI — is some sort of an affront.
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.