McDonald removed from Pirates' rotation

The SportsXchange

Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander James McDonald, the star of the Pirates' staff in the first half of the season, has been removed from the starting rotation for the stretch run because he has faltered recently.

He will be replaced by right-hander Kyle McPherson on Wednesday against the Brewers.

"You want your starters to pitch well and as the games count down, we've got to look to give ourselves the best shot that we can have at winning a game," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said, according to MLB.com. "Based on James' inconsistency the second half, as I shared with him, when James is right, James is a valuable addition to our ballclub. He's had his challenges the second half."

McDonald went 9-3 with a 2.37 ERA in the first half of the season, and Pittsburgh fans were stunned when he was not named to the All-Star team.

But he has an ERA of 5.84 in his past 12 starts. He is 12-8 with a 4.05 ERA for the season.

McDonald will pitch out of the bullpen for the time being, although he has not pitched in relief since coming to Pittsburgh in 2010.

McPherson, 24, has allowed two runs in 11 2/3 innings of relief for the Pirates since debuting Aug. 20. He was 3-6 with a 3.22 ERA in 12 minor league starts this season for Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis.
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