09/08/2014 3:51 AM
Article By: Joe Sherman
HIGH & INSIDE – Outfielder J.B. Shuck (Cotuit, 2007) became a Cleveland Indian on Friday, traded from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for cash considerations. The left-handed hitter is a native of Calion, Ohio, and played college baseball at Ohio State. Last year, he batted .293 for the Angels with 25 extra-base hits, 39 RBIs, 60 runs scored and a .697 OPS in 129 games. But this season, the 27-year-old got off to an awful start in Anaheim, hitting just .167 with two home runs and nine RBIs in 22 games before being sent down. At Triple-A Salt Lake, he hit .320 with five homers, 18 doubles, nine triples, nine stolen bases, 57 RBIs, 64 runs scored and a .828 OPS. Most comfortable as a left fielder, Shuck also has experience in center and right. He now finds himself part of a Cleveland mix that includes starting outfielders Michael Bourn (Y-D, 2002) in center and David Murphy (Wareham, 2001-02) in right, along with backup Tyler Holt (Cotuit, 2008) … The next time Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale (Y-D, 2009) strikes out 10 or more batters in a game, he will break a 106-year-old franchise record. Last Saturday, Sale fanned 13 Detroit Tigers for his 17th career multi-strikeout game to tie the mark set by Ed Walsh in 1908. Sale’s double-digit punchout games began April 20, 2012, against the Seattle Mariners shortly after he emerged from the bullpen to become a full-time starter. Last year, he struck out a career-high 226 batters over 214 1/3 innings, which included four complete games, one shutout and six games in which he fanned 10 or more hitters. This season, despite spending time on the disabled list with a flexor muscle strain, Sale has added seven double-digit strikeout games to his total … Jackie Bradley Jr. (Hyannis, 2009) is back with the Boston Red Sox, his return clouded by rumors that his demotion to Triple-A Pawtucket a few weeks earlier was caused in part by his perceived “stubbornness with the coaching staff.” One source stated that Bradley was unwilling to work with coaches to fix his swing despite his paltry .216/.288/.290 numbers with Boston. Both Bradley and the Red Sox denied the report, but manager John Farrell (Hyannis,1982), speaking to reporters prior to Tuesday’s game against the Yankees, stopped short of endorsing Bradley’s work at Pawtucket, where he was hitting .212/.246/.273. “The reports have been mixed,” Farrell said. “It’s still a work in progress” … Rookie Mike Olt (Orleans, 2008-09) has returned to the Chicago Cubs after spending six weeks in the minors in an effort to regain his batting stroke. Optioned to Triple-A Iowa on July 22 after hitting just .119 for the Cubs, Olt seems to have worked out his problems at the plate. He hit .302 in 28 games at Iowa and when the Triple-A team’s season ended, he reported to Class-A Kane County to rehab an injured hamstring. There, he homered in each of the two games he played for the Cougars and added a double in Thursday’s contest before being recalled to Chicago on Friday. Despite his six-week absence from the National League, the UConn product remains tied for the NL home run lead among rookies (12).
LOW & OUTSIDE – The kid from Las Vegas has hit the jackpot. But don’t expect to see Kris Bryant (Chatham, 2011) wearing a big league uniform any time soon. Bryant, the second player chosen in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, was named Minor League Player of the Year last week by USA TODAY, one day after winning the Joe Bauman Award as the leading home run hitter in minor league baseball. But the Chicago Cubs have decided not to call him up even though several of his less productive Triple-A teammates have been given September promotions. Bryant, a Las Vegas native and former college star at the University of San Diego, hit .325 with 43 home runs, 110 RBIs, a .438 OBP and a 1.098 OPS between Double-A and Triple-A this summer. He obviously deserved to join the Cubs once his season ended at Iowa (PCL), but management told him to go home and rest instead. Under baseball rules, Bryant won’t become a free agent until after the 2021 season if the Cubs wait until at least mid-April of next year to bring him up. If he is promoted now, and stays for good, he’ll be a free agent a year earlier. That’s a big deal for a player who is projected as a future MLB superstar. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein called Bryant to explain the situation. “I told him, ‘You did everything you could possibly do as a first-year pro to impress and make us proud as an organization,’ ” Epstein said. “I told him the simple fact we’re in a pennant race and for a first-year professional who didn’t miss any time, it’s a long season, a long grind, whether he realizes it or not. It’s appropriate to go home and rest.” To Bryant’s credit, he’s not complaining. “It was a long season for me,” he said. “I think I’m more tired mentally than physically just because I’ve never played 142 straight games without many off days.” … Cape League President Judy Walden Scarafile, a University of Connecticut alum, was on hand Thursday night at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket to watch former Husky star Matt Barnes (Wareham, 2008-09) pitch the PawSox to an 8-2 playoff victory over Syracuse and a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five International League semifinal playoff series. Barnes worked seven strong innings in which he didn’t walk anyone while his teammates staked him to an 8-0 lead. “I felt pretty good,” the 24-year-old Barnes said. “I was able to establish the fastball early and let the changeup play off of that. To be able to jump out to a 3-0 lead after one inning was huge. It was a big swing of momentum for us.” The PawSox, who had won the series opener 2-1, completed the sweep Friday night in Syracuse, overcoming deficits of 4-0, 5-3 and 6-4 to eliminate the Chiefs 7-6. Syracuse’s all-star shortstop Emmanuel Burriss (Orleans, 2005) delivered four hits, including a double and a home run, scored twice and drove in two runs. Will Ryhmes (Brewster, 2004) also had two RBIs for the Chiefs. Pawtucket, the Boston Red Sox’s top minor league affiliate, next meets defending champion Durham (Tampa Bay Rays) in a best-of-five series for the Governor’s Cup. Games 1 and 2 will be played Tuesday night and Wednesday night in Pawtucket ... Andrew Chafin (Orleans, 2012) pitched a complete game shutout Thursday, lifting his Reno Aces into a tie with Las Vegas in the best-of-five Pacific Coast League semifinals. Chafin, 24, an Arizona Diamondbacks prospect, allowed four hits, struck out five and didn’t walk a batter. The left-hander from Kent State made his MLB debut against Detroit on Aug. 13, pitching three-hit ball over five scoreless innings for the D-backs.