Back surgery knocks Dodgers lefty Brett Anderson out 3-5 months

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Brett Anderson finally stayed healthy last season, throwing 180 innings with a 3.69 ERA for the Dodgers after logging a grand total of just 206 innings in the previous four seasons. He accepted a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer to remain in Los Angeles and headed to spring training with a lot of optimism for 2016.

And now he’s out 3-5 months following back surgery.

Anderson tweaked something in his back throwing live batting practice Tuesday and has been diagnosed with a bulging disk. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts indicated that the team expects him to pitch at some point this season, but it’s unlikely to be until the second half.

What a shame, for both Anderson and the Dodgers. He was hoping that a second healthy season in a row would enable him to cash in with a long-term deal as a free agent next winter. And they were counting on him as their fourth starter, which is a job that will now likely go to left-hander Alex Wood.

Fortunately for the Dodgers they have some quality rotation depth stockpiled and can turn to guys like Mike Bolsinger or Brandon Beachy as the No. 5 starter until Hyun-Jin Ryu is ready to return from shoulder surgery.

Anderson, who’s an entertaining follow on Twitter, posted this:

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.