James McDonald said one of the things he worked on this spring that he feels comfortable with going into the regular season is the development of his slider to be able to get guys out with it when he needs to.
“There was one game I was throwing it and (catcher Rod) Barajas gave me a tip,” he said. “I feel like since then my slider’s been a little better. As long as I come out with something to make myself better I feel like I’ve accomplished something.”
The tip Barajas gave him?
“He just gave me a different thought process of throwing it,” McDonald said. “I’m a breaking ball guy and that’s a feel pitch, but he told me with the slider don’t feel for nothing. Just throw it like you throw a 4-seamer, right down the middle. I started doing that and started getting more swings, more roll-overs.”
Manager Clint Hurdle said they watched all spring as McDonald developed that pitch as well as his changeup.
“He started having success with (the slider) about three starts ago, especially the one start where he extended through seven innings,” Hurdle said. “It came into play again tonight in the last two innings out there so it’s definitely added to his pitches. It’s definitely going to give him another weapon.”
= Hurdle also talked post-game about Barajas and why they felt he’d be a good addition to the team: “The experience factor was big, but we didn’t go out and get any of these guys just because of what they’d bring to the clubhouse. It was all that they could still play, could contribute on the field, and not just fill a spot but perform in a spot that we needed to bolster. His experience in the league, things he’s seen, the number of pitchers he’s worked with, it’s almost like he’s always worked with somebody similar to the guy he’s working with that we’ve got and could maybe help them out along the way. He’s been great with his tutorials this spring.”
= McDonald said he was happy with the way he bounced back from his last outing, a loss to the Twins on March 29 in which he allowed 10 runs on seven hits and walked seven in 3 2/3 innings. In prior years he might have let a bad outing carry over to the next game, and said he takes the fact that he didn’t as a sign of greater maturity.
= Just a thought, but Saturday should be an interesting day in Pittsburgh. The Flyers are in town to face the Penguins in a 4 p.m. game, the last of the regular season, and the Phillies are in town beginning Thursday. Saturday’s game is a 7:05 p.m. start. I wonder how many fans have tickets to both.