Pirates' McDonald adds slider to mix
By The Tribune-Review
Published: Sunday, May 27, 2012, 4:22 p.m.
The rapid development of his slider has helped spark what is becoming a breakout season for Pirates right-hander James McDonald.
He never threw the slider in two seasons with the Dodgers, then used it just a handful of times last year with the Pirates. This season, his mix has been about 20 percent sliders. The pitch is a great complement to McDonald's deadly curveball.
“It's given him two different breaking pitches that can violate two different lanes against hitters,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “The curve is more two-plane, top to bottom. The slider is (side to side). It's become a weapon.”
Catcher Rod Barajas pushed McDonald to work on the pitch during spring training.
“James is a kid with an open mind looking to get better,” Hurdle said. “When you're inconsistent and think something's missing, some guys tinker and look for the X factor. With him, it's, ‘Let me try something different. Let me see what I do if I get my hand on the side of it a little bit more and see what happens.' He's run with it.”
• Righty Jeff Karstens (shoulder inflammation) likely will throw five innings or 80 pitches in his next rehab start. On Saturday, he threw 59 pitches in 41⁄3 innings for Triple-A Indianapolis and allowed five runs (three earned) on two hits. “He cruised through four (innings) and there were some complications in the fifth, but nothing out of the ordinary,” Hurdle said. “He got his pitch count to where we wanted it, and he threw all his pitches. So it was a step in the right direction.”
• During his weekly radio show Sunday, general manager Neal Huntington said he might consider sending Yamaico Navarro to Indianapolis and calling up infielder Jordy Mercer. Navarro has played in only 25 games and is batting .178 with one home run and four RBI. Mercer, who is on the 40-man roster, was batting .295 with a .767 OPS at Indy.
• When Matt Hague was hit by a pitch to force in the winning run Saturday, it marked the first time that happened for the Pirates since April 15, 1997, when Tony Womack was struck in the face by Padres lefty Sterling Hitchcock.
• Former Army Ranger Sean Parnell, a Murrysville native, was a guest of Pirates owner Bob Nutting for the weekend series. Parnell, whose book, “Outlaw Platoon,” deals with his service in Afghanistan, hosted a reunion yesterday at PNC Park for about a dozen members of his platoon.
— Rob Biertempfel
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pens insider: Penalty killing a concern in Stanley Cup playoffs
- Kovacevic: Panic over Pirates? In April?
- Crash victim dies day after ‘horrific’ wreck in Armstrong County
- Undersized rookie Gibbons is blur on ice for Penguins
- LaBar: WWE needs to be careful with Cesaro plans
- Man found shot twice, dead in Larimer
- Rice cornerback among 3 draft prospects to visit Steelers
- Deer Lakes Park drilling debate veers into ethics complaint
- Panthers pulling weight for new strength coach
- Patience pays off as starting pitcher Volquez gets 1st win for Pirates
- Penguins’ Bylsma and Blue Jackets’ Richards know each other well