Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher James McDonald to a minor league deal with an invitation to big league camp in spring training.
McDonald, 29, suffered a strained shoulder after his sixth start with the Pirates last season. He did not return, finishing 2013 with a 5.76 ERA in 29 2/3 innings of work. In the past, McDonald has shown glimmers of promise with a decent ability to miss bats but control and a tendency to give up home runs have held him back.
McDonald will try to win a spot at the back of the Cubs’ starting rotation, but he could also end up contributing out of the bullpen at some point.
Major League Baseball has announced the umpiring crew for the World Series. John Hirschbeck is the crew chief. It’s his fifth World Series assignment, third as a crew chief.
A surprising name on the crew is Joe West. It’ll be his sixth World Series overall, but first since 2012. There had been chatter for several years that Major League Baseball was making a more concerted effort to get its best umpires into the World Series more often while minimizing the appearances of its weakest umpires. Most assumed West’s absence from the Fall Classic in recent years, despite his seniority, was a function of that. Maybe they’re still making merit a priority and maybe West has just improved? I’ll leave that for you to judge.
Anyway, here is the lineup of umps for Game 1. They will rotate after that, of course. If the series goes six games, Cowboy Joe will be calling the balls and strikes:
Home plate: Larry Vanover
1B: Chris Guccione
2B: John Hirschbeck
3B: Marvin Hudson
LF: Tony Randazzo
RF: Joe West
Replay Official for Games 1-2: Sam Holbrook (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)
Replay Official for Games 3-7: Larry Vanover (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)