Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar is headed to the disabled list with a sore right shoulder, which he originally injured while making a throw to first base on June 24.
Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune reports that Escobar tried to avoid the DL by showing the Rays’ coaching staff he could make the necessary throws during a pregame workout Monday, but manager Joe Maddon determined that his arm strength was lacking.
Escobar was acquired from the Marlins (via the Blue Jays) in December of 2012 and then, after a solid first season in Tampa Bay, signed a two-year, $13 million contract extension during the first week of this season. He’s had a poor first half, batting .244 with four homers and a .650 OPS that’s 80 points below his career mark, and his usually stellar defensive numbers have dipped significantly.
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.