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McDonald pleased with development of slider


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.



  1. Paul says:

    Wow, Daniel Moskos with an ERA of 1.00, WHIP of 1.22 and opponent BA of .182 is sent down while Tony Watson with an ERA of 5.73, WHIP of 1.18 and OBA of .267 stays?

    Anyone still think Clint Hurdle has any idea what he’s doing?

    Granted making Moskos the first pick of the draft was a horrendous mistake that won’t ever be remedied but this in now the second time in two years he’s been sent to the minors and replaced by a lefty who was performing worse than he was.

  2. John Lease says:

    Moskos stay further away from arbitration. He’ll be up this year, for sure.

  3. John G says:

    No offense to Moskos but it is obvious he was drafted way too high. When anyone looks at the quality players the Pirates have passed up through the years in the draft it is amazing. It is one thing to finish last place for whatever reasons but take advantage of that and draft good players. It is obvious the Pirates problem with players is not due entirely to being a small market team, instead they have not drafted good players. Regarding McDonald he is inconsistent. At times good but other times not so good. I sure hope the pitching gets better this year. It faltered towards the end of last year. No offense to Bedard but I was hoping Jeff Karstens would be the opening day starting pitcher.

  4. Rick says:

    I like this blog today. I’m going to be an optimist and hope the experience factor of Barajas and the maturity factor of the starters will help the club this year. I’ve been on Alvarez all spring butfor today, I’ll just stay positive.

  5. joel says:

    Blame NH and not the manager, the more I here NH tell the media about certain players the more I am convinced he is making these decisions. Jmac better get his act togather because Cole joins the rotation next year.

  6. Cam says:

    Opening Day doesn’t fool me one bit. The Buccos still stink.

  7. piratemike says:

    Joel……This season is just starting to start predicting rotations for 2013 is so premature.

  8. Chuck H. says:

    The Bucs finally made it to the bottom of the Grapefruit League. I knew they could do it.
    That’s how their season is going to play out too. Somebody in management is not making good decisions on who to keep on the pitching staff. Moskos is way better than Watson. Anyhow, save this blog till the end of the season. Told you so!

  9. dave says:

    I’m surprised that nobody else picked up on this. Barajas is the one that has to tell McDonald how to throw a slider? What the heck is Searage doing? Picking his nose?

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