The Pittsburgh Pirates have placed right-hander James McDonald on the 15-day disabled list today. His trip to the disabled list, retroactive to May 1, is because of the famous “shoulder discomfort” injury.
Basically, the Pirates don’t know what is wrong with him right now, so they are putting him on the disabled list to get him checked out completely and see if they can figure out why he has struggled so badly since the second half of the 2012 season.
To replace McDonald on the roster, the Pirates have recalled infielder Josh Harrison from Triple-A Indianapolis.
McDonald was expected to start for the Pirates tonight against Aaron Harang and the Seattle Mariners, but he has obviously been scratched. Right-handed pitcher Jeanmar Gomez will replace him tonight.
McDonald pitched to a 7.52 ERA in the second half of 2012 and so far in 2013, he has a 5.76 ERA. In the beginning of 2012, he was a potential Cy Young award candidate, so something has to be wrong with him. It may be more mental than anything, but it’s worth a trip to the DL to see if everything is right with him physically.
In some of his starts this season, McDonald has had trouble with his velocity, sometimes not even getting much higher than 89 miles per hour on his fastball after sitting at 92-95 consistently in 2012.
In other injury news for the Pirates, catcher Russell Martin was scratched from tonight’s lineup with a stiff neck. He is day-to-day, and the Pirates must feel he could be available in case of emergency, because instead of calling up top catching prospect Tony Sanchez, they called up Harrison to replace McDonald on the roster.
If Martin can’t go in an emergency, the only other option the Pirates have on the current 25-man roster is Brandon Inge, and he hasn’t played catcher in a long, long time.