It was looking more and more like the Pirates would shift James McDonald from the rotation to the bullpen once he returned from the disabled list, but now it might be a moot point.
McDonald continues to experience shoulder soreness and Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that the right-hander will be examined by Dr. James Andrews next week. In other words: Uh oh.
McDonald had an excellent first half for the Pirates last season, but faded badly down the stretch and then posted a 5.76 ERA in six starts before being shut down this year. Pittsburgh has enough rotation depth that sending Gerrit Cole back to the minors is being talked about, so at this point McDonald is sort of a forgotten man.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.
It’s not known yet what kind of contract the two sides are negotiating. It could be a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, a non-guaranteed major league contract, or a guaranteed major league contract.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.