Right-hander James McDonald had a great case for being an All-Star in the summer of 2012. Not a whole lot has gone right since, though, and the Pirates designated him for assignment Saturday, according to the Tribune-Review’s Rob Biertempfel, removing him from the 40-man roster.
McDonald had been on the shelf since early May due to shoulder soreness, though he’s recently progressed to the point at which he can pitch in games. He’s making $3.025 million this season, so it’d cost another team about $500,000 to take a flier on him for the rest of the year. Since he’s not eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season, there’s enough upside to justify the risk. If he shows something this month, a team could keep him in arbitration for about that same $3 million salary next year. If he doesn’t, then he gets non-tendered and probably signs for $1 million-$2 million at the most this winter.
The 28-year-old McDonald is 32-30 with a 4.20 ERA lifetime in 82 starts and 49 relief appearances. He was 2-2 with a 5.76 ERA before going down this season.
The Rockies fell 9-6 to the Orioles on Saturday, but the loss wasn’t without its bright spots. Case in point: Third baseman Nolan Arenado passed a significant career milestone on an Andrew Cashner fastball in the third inning, slugging the ball a projected 394 feet into the left field stands for his 200th career home run.
Arenado is the 34th active player to join the 200+ homer club and the first to do so since the Braves’ Freddie Freeman crossed that threshold on May 19. The three-run shot was the infielder’s 14th of the season and third since Friday, when he went deep twice against Orioles rookie John Means and reliever Shawn Armstrong. Following Saturday’s performance, he’s batting a robust .333/.377/.632 with 30 extra-base hits, 42 RBI, and a 1.009 OPS through 220 plate appearances.
He isn’t the only Rockies slugger making history, either. Arenado’s feat trailed that of Trevor Story, who clobbered an 0-2 pitch from Armstrong during the seventh inning of Friday’s 8-6 win. The two-run blast was his 100th home run in 448 career games, making him the fastest shortstop to reach the mark in MLB history.
The Rockies will vie for the series win as they round out the series on Sunday, with right-hander German Márquez scheduled to take the bump against fellow righty David Hess at 3:10 PM EDT.