AP Photo/Pat Sullivan

Rangers third base coach Tony Beasley diagnosed with cancer

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Some unpleasant news on the first day of Rangers camp on Friday, as Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that third base coach Tony Beasley was recently diagnosed with rectal cancer. Fortunately, it has been described as treatable and the belief is that it was caught in the early stages.

Beasley plans to report to Rangers camp on Saturday and remain with the team during his fight. He will begin chemotherapy while in Arizona for spring training.

The diagnosis obviously hit the Rangers family hard and that’s especially the case for manager Jeff Banister, who has a long history with Beasley. But it also goes beyond that, as Banister battled bone cancer as a teenager.

“I consider Tony as much a family member as anything else,” Banister said. “This one has been a challenge for me.”

Below is a video featuring some of the reaction at Rangers camp yesterday:

Our thoughts are with Tony for his fight.

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.