J.B. Shuck begins trek back to the Angels in Bees' loss to Reno

By Ryan Miller

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, May 6 2014 12:09 a.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — In the world of minor league baseball, every promotion also produces a demotion. With every dream being fulfilled comes the rude awakening of someone being sent down.

While much was made of Bees first baseman C.J. Cron receiving his first major league call-up last weekend, little was said about the man that had to be sent down to make room for the former University of Utah star.

Center fielder J.B. Shuck started the year in Salt Lake before quickly being promoted to the Angels during the first week of the season. With the call-ups of Grant Green and Cron, however, Shuck found himself back with the Bees.

If he's letting his demotion to Salt Lake get to him, he's not letting his play show it.

Shuck went 3 for 3 and reached base five times Monday night in the Bees' 7-6 loss to Reno in front of a crowd of 4,299.

"I was feeling good at the plate. I got a couple of pitches to hit and took advantage of it," Shuck said. "I'm just trying to get back on track. I started to feel good when I got sent down and hopefully help the team win here."

Shuck's performance Monday continued his torching of Triple-A pitchers. The center fielder is hitting .438 with Salt Lake — a far cry from his .173 average with the Angels.

"The pitching is a little bit more refined (in the majors)," Shuck said. "Guys don't miss quite as much and down here you have guys still trying to figure it out."

The soft-spoken Shuck isn't a super athlete. He has average size, strength and power, but that makes it easy for the average fan to get behind him.

Shuck hasn't got to where he is because of his natural gifts, but because of his relentlessness and determination. But some believe he also has a limited ceiling.

His critics like to point to his 0.3 wins above replacement as reason enough to keep him in Salt Lake. His defenders show his unexpected fifth-place AL Rookie of the Year production from last year.

Shuck hopes to bring that production back.

The Bees may have lost to the Aces on Monday when they weren't able to hold on to a two-run lead in the eighth, but it served as another step for Shuck to once again be the player he knows he can — and the player that fans in L.A. want and hope him to be too.

Beelines

Reno 7, Bees 6

Bees manager Keith Johnson's take: "When we get consistent, we will start winning. Our goal and our focus is on getting our guys to be consistent and once that happens all the winning and all that stuff will take care of itself. When our (inconsistency shows) up it's costing us runs and conversely ballgames."

Up next: Las Vegas at Salt Lake, Tuesday, 6:35 p.m.

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