McDonald on track for Tuesday

McDonald on track for Tuesday

CHICAGO -- Right-hander James McDonald remains on track to start the April 5 game in St. Louis after making a successful start in a Minor League camp game on Thursday.

McDonald, who was pitching for the second time since soreness on his left side sidelined him in mid-March, threw 69 pitches in the effort. He was initially scheduled to throw in a Triple-A game against the Yankees, but rainy weather forced the Pirates to revert to plan B.

"Not what you hope for," manager Clint Hurdle said, "but he got up and down five times."

Hurdle said that McDonald will likely be limited to about 85 to 90 pitches on Tuesday, since the righty never reached the 70-pitch threshold in Spring Training. That said, the Pirates would prefer to have McDonald make an abbreviated start than to thrust Jeff Karstens into a spot-start situation.

"The ball was coming out of his hand real well," general manager Neal Huntington said, when asked about McDonald's outing. "He threw healthy. He had some sharp pitches at times. He had some other pitches that weren't quite as crisp. But yeah, we believe he's ready to go."