Cubs sign James McDonald to a minor league deal

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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.

Red Sox to activate Dustin Pedroia from disabled list on Friday

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Manager Alex Cora said that second baseman Dustin Pedroia will be activated from the disabled list on Friday, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports.

Pedroia, 34, had cartilage restoration surgery on his left knee in late October. He played in only 105 games last season, batting .293/.369/.392 with seven home runs and 62 RBI in 463 plate appearances. His offensive stats were his worst since an abnormally-bad 2014 campaign.

The 34-15 Red Sox have baseball’s best record. Eduardo Nunez has mostly been handling second base in Pedroia’s place, hitting a disappointing .243/.261/.361 in 177 trips to the plate. He has also, by most metrics, played subpar defense at the position, so getting Pedroia back will be a boon.