Five Royals ejected in Sunday’s series finale against the Athletics

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The drama between the Athletics and Royals continued on Sunday. It all began when A’s third baseman Brett Lawrie slid hard into second base on Friday, causing Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar to suffer a mild left knee strain. There was some miscommunication over whether or not Lawrie apologized via text message to Escobar. Ultimately, it didn’t matter as Royals starter Yordano Ventura hit Lawrie with a 99 MPH fastball on Saturday night, resulting in an ejection, after the A’s put up a five-spot.

The two teams took the field Sunday afternoon for the series finale but they weren’t done. Athletics starter Scott Kazmir hit Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain in the leg with a pitch, but neither side was issued a warning. Royals manager Ned Yost and pitching coach Dave Eiland were both ejected by home plate umpire Greg Gibson.

In the top of the eighth inning, Royals reliever Kelvim Herrera quickly got the first two outs of the inning to bring up Lawrie. Herrera threw a 100 MPH fastball behind Lawrie, resulting in an immediate ejection. Herrera pointed to his head Royals bench coach Don Wakamatsu and Escobar, who did not start, were also ejected.

In the bottom half of the eighth, the Royals energized Kaufmann stadium when Cain hit a game-tying RBI double. Cain then stole third base ahead of an Eric Hosmer walk to bring up Kendrys Morales. Morales clubbed a ball to center field that he thought was a home run, but it bounced off the top of the wall, scoring both runners to put the Royals up 4-2. Wade Davis set the A’s down in order in the top of the ninth inning for the save.

Herrera, after the game:

The two sides don’t match up again until June 26-28 in Oakland, so there will be plenty of time for cooler heads to finally prevail.

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.