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Pirates notebook: McDonald remains on disabled list

Rob Biertempfel
| Tuesday, June 25, 2013, 8:42 p.m.
Pirates pitcher James McDonald throws during the third inning against the Braves Saturday, April 20, 2013, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher James McDonald throws during the third inning against the Braves Saturday, April 20, 2013, at PNC Park.
Pirates pitcher James McDonald throws against the Cubs on April 4, 2013, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher James McDonald throws against the Cubs on April 4, 2013, at PNC Park.

SEATTLE — A year ago, Pirates right-hander James McDonald was being talked about as an All-Star candidate. Now there is no telling when — or even if — McDonald will pitch for the team again.

McDonald's rehab assignment expired Wednesday, but he will remain on the disabled list indefinitely. In the afternoon, the Pirates said McDonald (shoulder discomfort) would be examined next week by orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews. A few minutes later, the club said a scheduling conflict on Andrews' end has postponed the exam.

“He's seen our doctors back in (Pittsburgh),” manager Clint Hurdle said. “The next step is to see Andrews.”

McDonald, 28, last pitched for the Pirates on April 30 and went on the DL the next day. He's made six rehab starts — two with Double-A Altoona (5.79 ERA) and four with Triple-A Indianapolis (6.53 ERA).

Two days after his last rehab start, McDonald told the Pirates his shoulder still didn't feel right.

“He said it didn't feel hurt; he wasn't having the pain he had (before),” Hurdle said. “But he's continued to have the challenge of getting loose, and that became a concern.”

Rodriguez still out

Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (forearm tightness) will throw a bullpen session Friday at PNC Park, then will make another rehab start Monday with Indy.

“He said he felt a little sore,” Hurdle said. “But he didn't know if he was just because he hadn't been out in 18 days or what. So we wanted to bring him back and get a better read.”

Vote for Pedro

Going into Tuesday's game, Pedro Alvarez was tied for second in the National League with 19 home runs. Even if he is not selected for the NL All-Star team, Alvarez still could participate in the Home Run Derby. The NL's Derby squad will be chosen by team captain David Wright.

When asked if he's thinking about the All-Star Game, Alvarez said, “No,” and ended the discussion. But teammate Andrew McCutchen believes Alvarez at least deserves to participate in the Home Run Derby.

“He's definitely a guy who can hit the ball a long way,” McCutchen said.

McCutchen led the Pirates last season with 31 homers but isn't considered a pure power hitter. Alvarez, however, fits into that slugger template.

“I'm sure if you ask him, he won't say that,” McCutchen said. “He doesn't say, ‘I'm going up there trying to hit a home run.' Not too many people in the game now do that. The last person I can think of who did was Matt Stairs. Nowadays, there are a lot of guys like Pedro, who can hit and who are very strong. If he makes good contact with the ball, it's going out nine times out of 10.”

Alvarez had gone deep in four straight games heading into the game late Tuesday against the Seattle Mariners.

“I like where his stroke has gotten to now,” Hurdle said. “I'm not a big fan (of the derby), one way or another. I don't know whether it would help or hurt him. That's a decision he'd have to make, if he gets asked.”

Minor matters

Low-A West Virginia OF Barrett Barnes was named South Atlantic League Player of the Week. Barnes batted .350 with two homers and nine RBI in four games. ... Jamestown 1B Danny Collins was named player of the week in the short-season Single-A New York-Penn League. In seven games, Collins hit .370 with four home runs.

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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