Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis returned from a knee injury 10 days ago, but now he’s headed back to the disabled list after injuring his ankle while celebrating Josh Beckett’s no-hitter last night.
Ellis wasn’t even behind the plate for Beckett’s gem. That job went to Drew Butera, who caught his second no-hitter, but Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles reports that Ellis sprained his right ankle when he landed on Butera’s discarded catcher’s mask during the celebration.
Tim Federowicz has been called up from Triple-A to replace Ellis on the roster and he’ll split time with Butera. Ellis hasn’t hit much since last season, batting .231 with a .669 OPS in 130 games, but that makes him look like Mike Piazza offensively compared to Butera’s career .185 batting average and .508 OPS.
Oh, and there’s this: Miguel Olivo was playing catcher for the Dodgers at Triple-A and hitting .368 there, so if he hadn’t gone and bitten off teammate Alex Guerrero’s ear there’s a strong chance he’d be the Dodgers’ starting catcher right now.
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.