Some potentially bad news for the Orioles: first baseman Chris Davis exited Friday night’s game against the Royals with a strained left oblique, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports. The team will evaluate him further to determine the severity of the injury.
Davis looked uncomfortable swinging in the third inning against Royals starter Yordano Ventura. He exited after the bottom of the fourth. Ryan Flaherty moved from third base to first base, Jonathan Schoop moved from second base to third base, and Steve Lombardozzi entered the game to play second base.
Davis entered Friday’s action with a .772 OPS, two home runs, and 13 RBI. After 21 games last season, Davis had a 1.177 OPS with seven home runs and 22 RBI.
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.