The Pittsburgh Pirates have activated James McDonald from the 60 day disabled list and designated him for assignment today. They have also recalled Brandon Cumpton from Indianapolis.
James McDonald hasn’t pitched in the majors since May, going on the DL with inflammation and tendonitis in his right rotator cuff. He has made 11 rehab appearances in the minors since then, spread over two different stints. McDonald has not pitched well, posting a 6.55 ERA in 33 innings, with a .305 BAA and 15 walks. He wasn’t pitching well before the injury either, going 2-2, 5.76 in six starts with the Pirates. He last pitched Thursday night in Indianapolis’ playoff game, throwing two no-hit innings, though he did walk two batters and half of his 26 pitches were balls.
Cumpton will be able to pitch tonight, though he threw eight innings on Wednesday night in a loss to Durham. He has made four starts for the Pirates and pitched well, going 1-1, 2.78 in 22.2 innings. He finished the minor league season with a 6-8, 3.62 record in 131.2 innings, posting a very impressive 2.43 GO/AO ratio.
UPDATE 5:50 PM: Thoughts from Tim Williams…
This looks like the end of McDonald’s time with the Pirates. It’s hard to believe that about 14 months ago there was a debate over whether he was a top of the rotation pitcher. Now he’s probably looking at an off-season where his best chance at a roster spot will be a non-roster invitee. I like McDonald, and wouldn’t mind seeing the Pirates take a chance on him as an NRI. If he doesn’t make the team, they could send him to Triple-A to get some work, and use him as a depth option. As we’ve seen this year, you have never have too much pitching. Also, he is only a little over a year removed from some impressive numbers, so there would be some upside.
As for Cumpton, he’ll provide the Pirates with another long relief option. He struggled in early August, but bounced back with two great starts in his final three outings to end the season. As John pointed out, he also threw eight innings in the playoffs this week, so he might not be available right away. I’m surprised that Wandy Rodriguez wasn’t activated, since Indianapolis is now done. The Pirates could have Rodriguez pitch another rehab start with West Virginia or Jamestown. Both teams have the opportunity to advance in the playoffs tonight. Rodriguez went three innings in his first rehab start with Indianapolis.