BRADENTON, Fla. — James McDonald is scheduled to start Saturday, probably in a minor league game at Pirate City. The right-hander has not pitched since March 11 due to an undisclosed side injury.
So far this spring, McDonald has a 4.05 ERA after making three brief outings. In 6 2/3 innings, he has allowed 10 hits and three walks and has struck out two.
If all goes well Saturday, McDonald likely would remain in Florida to pitch March 31 in another minor league game. He then join the Pirates April 6 in St. Louis to start against the Cardinals. If he’s not ready to begin the regular season, either lefty Brian Burres or righty Jeff Karstens would make a spot start against the Cards.
»»» Catcher Chris Snyder, who’s been out since March 9 due to a sore back, will be in the lineup Thursday night against Baltimore. Snyder felt fine Wednesday, a day after catching four innings in a minor league game. Yesterday, he got 10 at-bats in a camp game at Pirate City.
»»» There was another hour-long round of post-game batting practice today at McKechnie Field. Today, manager Clint Hurdle pitched to Pedro Alvarez (who’s batting .245 and has struck out 13 times in his past 23 at-bats), Neil Walker (.212) and Ronny Cedeno (.268).
“It’s something I’ve always done,” Hurdle said of the extra workout. “When you have one field, you can’t do it anywhere else and you can’t hit before (regular) batting practice because the fields are wet. In some other complexes I’ve worked at, there are other fields in back, so guys can work with a hitting coach. I would’ve preferred to do this a few more times earlier (this spring), but we waited because of the workload these guys are carrying.”