Pirates to call up James McDonald for Thursday's start

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Acquired from the Dodgers over the weekend in the Octavio Dotel trade, James McDonald is expected to join the Pirates’ rotation to start Thursday against the Rockies.
As a 25-year-old with a good minor-league track record McDonald is certainly deserving of a shot that the Dodgers never quite seemed willing to give him. He had a solid 4.11 ERA in 76.2 innings during various stints with the Dodgers, but posted a sub par 63/40 K/BB ratio and got knocked around in five starts while thriving as a reliever.
McDonald may be destined for the bullpen long term, but the Pirates can certainly afford to give him a chance to establish himself as a mid-rotation starter after he went 9-2 with a 3.96 ERA and 125/45 K/BB ratio over 22 starts in a hitter-friendly environment at Triple-A.
He’s exactly the type of player the Pirates should be taking fliers on and they very did well to get McDonald and outfield prospect Andrew Lambo for Dotel.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.