Pirates notebook: JB Shuck’s homer-stealing catch one of few highlights
JB Shuck rubbed his sore shoulder in the clubhouse Thursday, the shoulder that crashed into the PNC Park wall while stealing a home run.
It is a price he was willing to pay.
The Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder made a running, twisting, leaping catch that should rank among this season’s best.
With a runner on first and two outs in the seventh, Arizona’s Eduardo Escobar drove a long fly ball toward the bleacher seats in left.
Shuck made a homer-stealing catch above the fence that drew a hat-tip from Escobar.
“He stayed inside of it really well. It started coming back, so I had to spin,” Shuck said. “I knew I had a bead on it. I knew it was going to be close. I wasn’t really sure how close I was to the wall at that point, so I just decided, ‘Hey, I’m going to go try and catch it and see what happens.’ ”
The Pirates lost 5-0 for the team’s fifth consecutive loss, but Shuck’s defensive effort was a bright spot.
“He’s a ball player, and our guys are playing hard,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “It’s hard to look like you’re playing hard when you get (four) hits from the offense and one from the pitcher. But you saw the effort there. You saw the effort from (Josh) Bell last night.
“That’s one of the ways (Shuck) keeps finding his way back to the big leagues: He goes out and plays hard.”
The 5-foot-11 outfielder is in his first season with the Pirates, but this wasn’t the first time he robbed someone of a home run. In 2015, Shuck took a homer away from Baltimore’s Chris Davis while playing for the Chicago White Sox.
“For me, it was a rough day at the plate,” Shuck said of Thursday’s loss, “so you hope you get a chance to at least help defensively when it’s going like that at the plate. Fortunately, I was able to help a little bit.”
Second start at 2nd
Colin Moran made his second start at second base and handled all four defensive chances with success.
The 6-4 infielder typically plays third, but the Pirates have moved him around recently to keep his bat in the lineup. He has made seven starts at third, two at second, two in left field and one at first.
He didn’t anticipate becoming a utility player this season but has embraced the role.
“I’ll take it if I’m in the lineup,” Moran said, “but I wouldn’t have guessed it. Definitely it’s a welcome challenge to get in the lineup every day.”
Moran handled four grounders Thursday, including a bouncing ball in the third that he charged and threw out Ildemaro Vargas
“I felt more comfortable,” Moran said. “Obviously, any time you do something for the second time you’re going to be more comfortable.”
Gonzalez has surgery
Injured shortstop Erik Gonzalez underwent surgery to repair and stabilize his fractured left clavicle, the team announced. The procedure — called an open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) — was performed by Dr. Greg Altman at Allegheny General Hospital.
He is expected to return to full baseball activities within 10 to 12 weeks.Gonzalez was injured April 19 when he and outfielder Starling Marte collided.
Consecutive Diamondback batters poked line drives into right field and sprinted around the bases for triples Thursday.
Right fielder Gregory Polanco was making only his third start there since shoulder surgery, but don’t reactively blame his arm strength for those extra bases, Hurdle said.
“His arm is not where it used to be. We talked about it all the way through his rehab,” Hurdle said. “(But Zack) Greinke we’re playing shallow, and the ball is hit over his head so I don’t know. The ball down the line, you’ve got a burner hitting in (Jarrod) Dyson, so I don’t know on that one either. I have to look at the tape.”
“I think (Polanco’s shoulder) is the first place the commoner is going to look. I’m going to check the routes. I think there’s some work we can do on our routes.”