Yasiel Puig has not started three of the Dodgers’ last seven games, all against righties, as Don Mattingly has tried to work Carl Crawford back into the outfield rotation. Puig sitting in such situations is not something anyone would’ve predicted before the season — he seemed like the one true lock in the outfield — but a year of injury and frequent ineffectiveness has made that the right move, to be honest.
Mark Saxon of ESPN reports that Mattingly had a sit-down with Puig about it before yesterday’s game, and that it actually went OK:
“I just let him know that he’s not just going to automatically be out of there against righties. He’s going to be in there, it’s just occasional days off,” Mattingly said. “I know a couple have come here recently as we want to mix Carl back in.
“He seemed to be OK with it. He didn’t look like he was ready to hit me or anything,” Mattingly joked.
Man, that Puig. Not showing any fire when told that he’s not gonna play every day. A real scrappy professional would’ve been ready to hit his manager in that situation.
In all seriousness, though, Puig could use the time off. Look at this bat flip:
Need to get back on track before he completely forgets how to flip ’em.
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.