Royals sign .157-hitting Angels castoff Raul Ibanez

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You’d think that hitting .157 in 57 games as a 42-year-old and getting released by the Angels would signal the end of the line for Raul Ibanez, but instead he’s quickly found a new home and a major-league contact with the Royals.

Ibanez had a lot of success in Kansas City from 2001-2003 and it’s certainly worth noting that he smacked 29 homers last season, but he looked awfully washed up with the Angels and if this move was going to come from any general manager Dayton Moore would probably have been most people’s first guess.

Presumably the Royals will limit Ibanez’s playing time to occasional starts at designated hitter and some bench bat work, although with Moore and manager Ned Yost you never know.

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.