Shuck staying ready in reserve role

Shuck staying ready in reserve role

ANAHEIM -- There was a time during the 2013 season when J.B. Shuck played a somewhat significant role in the Angels' success, hitting .293 with 39 RBIs over 478 plate appearances for a team he faced on Wednesday, now with the White Sox.

But the Angels went in a different direction for 2014, and so did Shuck's game. He hit only .145 between limited stops with the Angels and Indians. So the winter leading into the 2015 season became a time for the left-handed-hitting outfielder to regroup.

"I kind of let it get to me last year. When I came back up for the little time I did, I tried to do too much," Shuck said. "Didn't play my game, and it showed. I struggled the whole time I was up here last year. I really had to re-focus this winter and with a new opportunity [with the White Sox] I was able to regroup and get back to my game and it has played out for me.

"Just really worked out hard. Not trying to do too much. Getting back to being a good contact hitter. Working on getting my swing short and compact so I was ready to come into Spring Training ready to go."

Shuck has become an important piece off Chicago's bench, leading the team with six pinch-hits and three pinch-hit RBIs. At 28, Shuck certainly hasn't given up on playing every day, but he likes the feel and fit of being part of this White Sox squad.

"Everybody here wants to play every day," Shuck said. "But I want to be somewhere where I can be myself and be around guys that I can have fun with and be in a place that has a chance to win. I think this team has that chance, and we have the players to do it."

"Guys can evolve. They can change that by the way they play," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Shuck. "The first thing is how he shows up every day, ready to go. That part he has already accomplished knowing he's ready every day, able to pinch-hit and do stuff like that. This is a different thing to see how far he's going to take it."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.