Pirates' McDonald denies any injury issues
Struggling pitcher James McDonald insists he is healthy and, for now, the Pirates are inclined to believe him.
“I'm fine,” McDonald said Tuesday. “It's just one of those times when my body just doesn't feel too well and I have to battle through it. My body feels a little beat up. Long road trip, coming back here, I've got to get adjusted to the workload I'm putting on myself.”
The right-hander gave up eight runs in 12⁄3 innings Monday against the St. Louis Cardinals. McDonald's fastball sat around 90 mph, continuing a trend that began midway through 2012.
Last year, McDonald's average velocity peaked at 92.9 mph in June. By the end of the season, it was down to 91.8 mph — tailing off as he skidded through a second-half slump.
Even when he's on the mound, McDonald is aware his velocity is down.
“I'm throwing it. I can feel it,” he said. “But you don't have your good stuff every single time. You have to battle through it.”
After the game, manager Clint Hurdle and GM Neal Huntington were briefed by head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk and pitching coach Ray Searage. After that, McDonald was called into the manager's office.
“Is he 100 percent on top of his game? No,” Hurdle said. “He's not feeling anything that he doesn't think is manageable. It's perplexing to some degree. We'll have the trainers and our strength and conditioning guy continue to monitor some stuff. We'll try to evaluate this day by day.”
Hurdle seemed to rule out the possibility of McDonald skipping a start.
“At this time, I don't have any information to lead me in that direction,” Hurdle said.
McDonald doesn't want to ease up on the mound or with his between-starts workouts.
“Maybe I'll turn it up, more than anything, rather than back off,” McDonald said. “Your brain will adjust to whatever you do. If I back off, my brain will adjust to that. If I turn it on more, my body will adjust to more of a workload.”
Hurdle said he believes McDonald was telling the truth about being healthy. Yet, the veteran manager knows from firsthand experience that players usually are reluctant to admit they're injured.
“A long time ago, I was a player,” Hurdle said. “If I had something that hurt me, I didn't run to a coach and tell him. I sure didn't run to the manager and tell him. You don't do that. It's not the way you're brought up; it's not the way you play. We were taught you play through things and figure it out.
“But it gets to a point where we all know our 80 percent might not be as good as somebody else's 100 percent. That's what we continue to have conversations about with them. We want to push them through some things. We don't want them, at the first little sign of something not feeling right, that they're out, they miss a start or they can't play two games. It's a fine line.”
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.
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.
- Pirates bench coach Jeff Banister named Rangers manager
- Pirates face mound of decisions in offseason
- Pirates will implement price increase for 2015 tickets