McDonald Pulled From Rotation, McPherson Replaces Him

Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle announced on Sunday that James McDonald has been removed from the rotation, and rookie Kyle McPherson will replace him in the five-man staff, getting his first Major League start on Wednesday in Pittsburgh against Milwaukee.

As the season continues to wind down, and each game continues to get more important as the Pirates are just two games out of the second spot in the Wild Card, the club had to do what was best for the team to win games. Hurdle decided that right now, they were better served with McPherson getting those starts.

Hurdle told Rob Biertempfel of the Trib that fatigue was not a factor as to why McDonald has struggled in the second half of the season, that it’s been the execution that has been the challenge. McDonald posted an impressive 2.37 ERA in the first half, but has since ballooned to 4.05 on the season due to the second half struggles. McDonald walked more batters — 37 — since the All-Star break than he had in the entire first part of the season — 31 over 110.0 innings.

McPherson has been impressive in his short look in relief since being recalled from Triple-A. The right-hander has allowed two runs on nine hits over 11.2 frames (1.54 ERA) with Pittsburgh. He’s walked just two batters while striking out 11. McPherson posted a combined 3.22 ERA over 12 starts with Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis this season. The rookie started the season on the disabled list due to right shoulder fatigue, but was impressive at the Triple-A level. Over three starts, McPherson posted an 0.98 ERA over 18.1 innings with 17 strikeouts. McPherson was the Pirates Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2011 after sporting a 2.96 ERA over 28 starts combined at High-A Bradenton and Altoona.

The Pirates will not move forward with a six-man rotation. Hurdle told Biertempfel that they want to see Jeff Karstens (hip flexor) in relief from the bullpen first before considering moving him back into starting.

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

Exploring the Arsenal – Chris Volstad

Next Story »

State College Splits With Pirates, Signs Two Year Deal With Cardinals

  • buccotime57

    I heard something about the spikes leaving and the pirates being affiliated with either jamestown or batavia??? any news..

  • State College Steve

    Live in Spikes land and haven’t heard a thing about this lately. There was talk a few months ago about the change though. Pretty much they want a winning season here to have playoffs, etc. The Pirates haven’t done that for them…….

    • buccotime57

      there was something on 93.7 today about i just got the tail end of it

      • State College Steve

        I saw it in the papers today, signed a 2 year deal with the Cardinals. Also sent my letter to the GM effectively removing myself from the season ticket holder list since the Spikes inception…….

  • Matt Beam


    • whiteAngus

      theres always hockey season.

      • buccotime57

        not this year

  • Matt Beam

    somebody needs to be held accountable for today’s debacle if the Pirates lose… totally unacceptable, the Cubs line-up has been treating Pirates pitching like this is little league the past week

  • Matt Beam

    Hurdle deserves to be removed from the bench and sent home for the rest of the season, the Pirates will not recover from today, no playoffs, no 500 record, and you leave it up to a bunch of nobody’s when things are going downhill fast today… Vandenhurk, Leroux, Wilson… are you kidding me? lets let the AAA Sept call-ups try to get us through today’s game, you should be absolutely embarassed

  • Bryan Graham

    What’s the difference if they are just going to keep running Barmes and Barajas out there everyday? Time for Hurdle to go also in my opinion.

Latest Analysis

  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    4 hours ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    1 day ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    3 days ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    4 days ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    5 days ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    6 days ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    1 week ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Cody Dickson is a lefty with the upside of a middle of the rotation starter. (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

    The Mental Adjustment that Led to Cody Dickson’s Dominant 2014 Second Half

    1 week ago

    Trusting his stuff and not trying to do too much — that has been the key for left-handed pitcher Cody Dickson so far in his professional baseball ...

    Read More
  • Third Base Mathisen Luplow Joe

    Who’s on Third? In the Pirates’ Farm System, It Could Be Anyone

    1 week ago

    If you have ever played third base in your life — professional, college, high school, slow pitch softball — then the Pittsburgh Pirates might be contacting you ...

    Read More
  • Jason Creasy

    Another Pitcher to Watch From the Pirates’ 2011 Draft

    2 weeks ago

    The 2011 draft is shaping up to be a great class for the Pittsburgh Pirates. They picked first overall that year, so naturally you’d expect good things ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles