The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired right-hander James McDonald from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the summer of the 2010 season (along with prospect Andrew Lambo) for then closer Octavio Dotel. In his first full season as a starting pitcher in 2011, McDonald posted a 4.21 ERA over 171 innings.
The 27-year-old is looking to improve upon his 2011 season.
"He knows he needs to step it up," Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle said. "After a full season in the big leagues, you want to be able to master your craft. He's got some people here who are going to push him. No starter wants to be the weakest link in the rotation. He had some very good stretches last year and he had a lot of growth in front of him to do...Command of the fastball is always going to be critical for James. It makes everything sharper and better when he has it. He's a work in progress."
The changeup was a pitch that McDonald worked on getting a feel for a lot during spring training. The right-hander s...