How Terry Francona told Blake Wood that he made the team

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Indians manager Terry Francona let pitcher Blake Wood know that he had officially made the team’s 25-man roster in a unique way on Monday. Joe Reedy of FOX Sports Ohio has the details:

It was during a pitching change in the seventh inning of Monday’s spring training game against the Reds that the 28-year-old right-hander found out he earned a spot.

“When I went to take him out, (catcher Luke) Carlin was coming and I told him to stay back there a little bit,” manager Terry Francona said. “I went out there and asked (Wood) if he ever made the team on the mound? He was like no. I go ‘well, you just did.’ After that we came and talked to him the dugout but you could tell he was pretty excited.”

Francona and general manager Chris Antonetti were planning on telling Wood that he made the roster the next morning but bullpen coach Kevin Cash told him that there was some anxiety from Wood and a couple others. Francona, who rarely takes his cell phone to the field but did in this case because there were a lot of moving parts to the roster, called Antonetti, who was watching the minor-league games, and asked if it was OK to tell Wood that he made it.

Wood has been in the Majors before — in 2010-11 with the Royals, and last season briefly with the Indians. But he was on the cusp of starting the season back in Triple-A again, so it was a fun way for Francona to deliver the good news.

In 120 2/3 innings in the big leagues, Wood has a 4.25 ERA with 94 strikeouts and 45 unintentional walks.

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.