Analysis

With Guidance From Veterans, McDonald Evolving into Ace

With Guidance From Veterans, McDonald Evolving into Ace

James McDonald - Photo by Mark Olson

After James McDonald tossed his first career complete game his last trip to the mound on Thursday at PNC Park, he explained what was the biggest key for him in his impressive 2012 season. The reason? Guidance from veterans Rod Barajas and A.J. Burnett.

"Those guys influence me in a lot of ways," McDonald explained. "Now, I expect seven innings every time. Before I didn’t even think about that. Just that mentality there. They tell me I need to be the guy that wants the ball seven innings every time. Just seeing them guys have confidence in me, it kind of puts confidence in myself to believe in myself and that I can do those things."

The lack of confidence and maturity was the reason the Los Angeles Dodgers traded the talented prospect at the time to Pittsburgh. The Pirates sent closer Octavio Dotel on July 31, 2010 for McDonald and also got minor league outfielder Andrew Lambo. Dotel was later traded to Colorado that season after the Dodgers...

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