Growing up an Indians fan, Shuck now gets chance to don uniform

The Indians acquired outfielder J.B. Shuck Friday.

Anthony Gruppuso/Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sport

CLEVELAND — When J.B. Shuck was growing up in Galion, he would often come to Indians games and sit in the bleachers so that he would watch Kenny Lofton. Now Shuck gets to play in the same outfield that Lofton once patrolled in an Indians uniform.

Shuck arrived at Progressive Field on Saturday after being acquired from the Angels. Shuck is available to play in Saturday night’s game and will wear No. 39.

"I grew up as a huge Indians fan. To be able to put on this uniform is exciting," Shuck said. "In the ’90s, I got to follow some unbelievable teams and have met some of them. I loved Lofton and when we sat in the bleachers we would sit as close to center as we could."

Shuck spent the majority of this season with the Angels Triple-A in Salt Lake, and was fourth in the Pacific Coast League in batting average (.320) along with being tied for second in triples with nine. He did appear in 22 games for the Angels and batted .167.

Shuck, who went to Ohio State, spent all of last season with the Angels and batted .293. This season though he got caught up in a numbers game with the major-league roster.

"They needed a right-handed bat as an outfielder and unfortunately I can’t hit right-handed," Shuck said. "It just didn’t work out but I was given an opportunity to play every day in Triple-A and tried to make the best of it. I got to play all three outfield positions. It was nice to do that."

Terry Francona said before Saturday’s game against the White Sox that they didn’t know how Shuck would fit in over the last three weeks of the season and that a lot would depend on how well David Murphy is feeling. Shuck is batting .355 against left-handers in Triple-A.

The Angels designated Shuck for assignment on Tuesday as his agent told him that there was a good chance he would be claimed. Shuck went to Houston and worked out for a couple days before the Indians acquired him. Shuck was drafted by Houston in the sixth round in 2008 and was with the organization until last year. In 188 major-league games, he has batted .272 with four home runs, 51 RBI and 12 stolen bases.