Sheffield bros pitch in same game for 1st time

Justus starts for Mariners, Jordan pitches in relief for Rockies in spring action

March 5th, 2021

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Justus Sheffield’s adrenaline was pumping during his Cactus League debut for the Mariners on Thursday. But not when he was on the mound.

No, the jitters came during the fourth inning -- well after he departed following two scoreless innings -- when his brother, Jordan Sheffield, came on in relief for the Rockies and gave up one run in one inning in a 9-9 tie at Peoria Stadium.

“That was awesome,” Justus said. “Honestly, just truly blessed to be able to share the field with him. I'm super excited for him with what he has going over there with the Rockies.”

It was only the second time in their professional careers that the Sheffield brothers crossed paths, but it was the first time they appeared in the same game. From June 27-30, 2019, Jordan’s Tulsa Drillers (the Dodgers' Double-A affiliate) visited Justus’ Arkansas Travelers (the Mariners' Double-A affiliate) for a four-game series. Jordan pitched in the second and fourth games, while Justus pitched in the third.

Justus pointed out that the elder Jordan issued a bases-loaded, walk-off walk that allowed Kyle Lewis, who is now with Seattle's big league club, to score the game-winning run in the finale of that series, in which Arkansas took three out of four games.

“I can always hold that over his head, getting that ‘W’ in that series,” Justus said.

This spring, the Sheffields have shifted their home from Tullahoma, Tenn., to the Phoenix area, with the two rooming together during camp for the third year in a row. Before being acquired by the Rockies in the Rule 5 Draft in December, Jordan was in the Dodgers’ organization, which trains in Glendale, Ariz. They’re also roommates in the offseason in Nashville.

When they’re not at their respective facilities for Spring Training, the Sheffields are golfing, dueling in ping-pong or playing video games.

“He looked good. The ball was coming out good,” Justus said of Jordan. “It looked like he was trying to find his changeup a little bit. That's usually his best secondary pitch, and looks like he was just kind of getting real quick at times. But overall, he looks pretty good. I'm sure we'll have a sit-down talk at the house a little bit later on.”

That instant collaboration has benefited both sides.

“He’s seen a lot of my pitches, a lot of my throws, and I've seen a lot of his pitches and a lot of his throws,” Jordan said. “So usually when we get done, we'll kind of bounce some ideas off each other and learn from each other and basically just do that all offseason.

“It makes it easy, having somebody there to go through the offseason with you every day, and then to throw a bunch of questions at you right away.”

The Sheffields are in camp at different stages of their careers.

Justus is entrenched in the Mariners’ starting rotation and a key foundational piece to their long-term core. The left-hander is coming off an impressive rookie season in which he went 4-3 with a 3.58 ERA and 118 ERA+ while becoming more of a location-driven pitcher.

Jordan is likely to make the Rockies’ Opening Day roster as a reliever, as he’ll need to remain on Colorado’s 26-man roster all season, otherwise he could be taken back by the Dodgers. Over four Minor League seasons, he has a 4.56 ERA in 211 1/3 innings.

“I tried not to pay attention when I’m out there on the mound, but this game was a little different,” Jordan said. “I knew I had some eyes on me, especially his.”'s Thomas Harding contributed to this story.