McDonald cautious but optimistic about return

McDonald cautious but optimistic about return

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Even though James McDonald refrained from doing on-field work on Saturday, the right-hander expressed optimism that he won't be out of action for long.

On Friday, McDonald was pulled from his start in the third after telling trainer Brad Henderson that he was feeling discomfort in his left side. The Pirates said on Saturday that McDonald will be re-evaluated over the next few days, after which the club will release more information about his status.

Though the team intends to be extra cautious with McDonald's progression back to the mound, the righty said on Saturday that he felt good enough to get back to work right away.

"I feel like I can," said McDonald, who the Pirates are counting on to be a main cog in the team's rotation. "When I was pitching, it kind of grabbed a little bit. They said, 'It's spring, not the season, so let's just take it slow.'"

McDonald was unsure of whether the setback would force him to miss any spring starts, and the Pirates did not speculate on that prospect either. In McDonald's three starts so far, he has given up 10 hits and three earned runs in 6 2/3 innings.