On Tuesday, the Angels received lefty Rich Hill from the Red Sox for cash considerations. Hill made his 2014 debut that day in the first game of a doubleheader against the White Sox, loading the bases on a single and two walks before being replaced by Joe Smith, who allowed an inherited run to score on a ground ball double play. Hill pitched again in the second half of the doubleheader, walking the only batter he faced.
The Angels have ended the Rich Hill experiment, as the club announced that the 34-year-old lefty has been designated for assignment to make room for the recently-acquired Joe Thatcher. The Angels made two additional moves as well, optioning Cory Rasmus to Triple-A Salt Lake, and selecting the contract of Michael Roth from Double-A Arkansas.
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.