PITTSBURGH -- Veteran infielder John McDonald was not long for the Pirates, who were expected to activate him from the disabled list on Tuesday and release him to give his spot on the 40-man roster to Gerrit Cole.
But that bit of red tape was simplified Monday evening when the Cleveland Indians, dealing with an injury to Asdrubal Cabrera, acquired McDonald for a player to be named later.
McDonald had been on the DL since May 15 with lower-back discomfort and inflammation in his right elbow and had played 10 games on a rehab assignment to Triple-A Indianapolis.
The Bucs had acquired McDonald from Arizona in late March, and in a reserve role he had two hits in 31 at-bats with the Pirates prior to his injury.
The popular 38-year-old veteran will be returning to the Indians, his original big league club from 1999-2004. He had been Cleveland's 12th-round pick in the 1996 First-Year Player Draft.
The Pirates will still have to make a move involving their active 25-man roster to accommodate Cole, who is scheduled to make his Major League debut in a Tuesday night start at PNC Park against the Giants.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.