Pirates notebook: J-Mac's future remains uncertain
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Right-hander James McDonald (shoulder discomfort) is nearing the 30-day limit for his minor league rehab stint. His outings have ranged from awful to mediocre, and there doesn't seem to be any spot for him at the big league level.
Could McDonald work out of the bullpen when — or if — he returns? “We're going to get the first part of that answered before we get to the second,” manager Clint Hurdle said.
On Sunday, Hurdle will talk with pitching coach Ray Searage, general manager Neal Huntington and assistant GM Kyle Stark about McDonald's future.
McDonald is out of options, so he'd have to clear waivers if the Pirates opted to send him to the minors when he came off the disabled list. Or, if the club figures it's time to cut its losses, McDonald could be traded.
Morton returns to site of debut
Five years ago, Charlie Morton climbed the pitcher's mound at Angel Stadium and made his big league debut. On Sunday, the Pirates right-hander will step back on that dirt for the first time since then.
“It's interesting to come back here and look around. Things haven't changed,” Morton said. “But for me, personally, things have changed a lot since 2008.”
Morton was with the Atlanta Braves on June 14, 2008, for his MLB debut, then was traded to the Pirates a year later.
Sunday's outing will be his 92nd career start but only his third since returning from Tommy John surgery.
“Five years,” Morton mused. “Looking back, it seems like the time span should've been a lot longer. All those experiences seem like they should occupy more time, but they don't.”
Cole might get extra rest
Gerrit Cole looked fine Saturday, the day after he was struck on the left thigh by a line drive. Cole is slated to throw a bullpen session Sunday.
The Pirates will decide whether Cole will start Wednesday on his usual four days' rest or if Jeanmar Gomez will come off the DL and pitch in Seattle. If Gomez starts, Cole would pitch Friday against Milwaukee at PNC Park. (The Pirates are off Thursday.)
“One of the things we're discussing is whether to give Cole an extra day,” Hurdle said. “It's been a pretty jam-packed two weeks for him.”
Fast and slow
Friday's game pitted two pitchers whose careers seem to be headed in opposite directions and at different speeds. Cole is going up, fast. Angels righty Jered Weaver might be headed down, slowly.
Cole (3-0) has won each of his three starts in the majors. Eight of his pitches Friday were 100 mph-plus — the fastest was clocked at 101.88 mph, according to PitchFx. He and New York Mets ace Matt Harvey (who's done it once) are the only NL starters to hit triple digits this season.
“His fastball played big today,” Hurdle said.
Weaver (1-4) has gone a career-worst eight straight starts without getting past the sixth inning and has lost three in a row for the first time since May 2-18, 2011.
Weaver, 30, twice touched 90 mph with his fastball in the first inning. But by the fourth, his velocity was in the low 80s. Pedro Alvarez and Jordy Mercer clubbed mid-80s fastballs from Weaver for home runs.
“The radar readings are what they are,” Weaver told the Los Angeles Times. “I'm not going to be throwing 93 anymore. Those days are gone. I just have to locate what I've got.”
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com 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.
- Statistically speaking: Can Pirates contain Hamilton on bases
- Pirates starting pitcher Cole growing in his 1st full major-league season
- Friday’s scouting report: Reds at Pirates
- Pirates notebook: McCutchen returns to starting lineup; Alvarez out
- Starkey: Bucs still battlin’
- Biertempfel: Bucs must balance playing hurt or sitting out
- Pirates notebook: Barmes back, gets start at SS
- Minor league notes: Baseball vagabonds improve stock with strong seasons
- Monday’s scouting report: Cardinals at Pirates
- Stats Corner: Can Pirates’ Polanco handle the heat in season’s final weeks?
- Pirates notebook: Breakout of catching prospect Diaz a pleasant surprise