Bucs Acquire SS McDonald from Diamondbacks
PHOENIX (AP) – The Arizona Diamondbacks traded shortstop John McDonald to Pittsburgh on Wednesday for a player to be named or cash, giving the Pirates some much-needed infield depth.
The trade came two days after Pirates backup shortstop Chase d’Arnaud, injured in a rundown drill earlier, had surgery for a torn ligament in his left thumb. He is expected to be sidelined six to eight weeks.
The 38-year-old McDonald hit .249 in six homers and 22 RBIs in 70 games for Arizona last season and gives the Pirates an experienced reserve for regular shortstop Clint Barmes.
McDonald, who can also play second base and third base, made only one error in 210 chances last season.
“He’s a professional player. A lot of experience. Above average defender. He’s got infield presence. Clubhouse presence. He’s just a seasoned vet,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
McDonald found himself the odd man out at a crowded position. Cliff Pennington and Willie Bloomquist are expected to share the spot when the season begins, with top prospect Didi Gregorius waiting at Triple-A Reno.
“He’s a very accomplished defensive player and a veteran presence,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. “He brings depth and stability at a position where all of a sudden we didn’t have much depth or stability.”
McDonald has spent parts of 14 seasons in the majors with Cleveland, Detroit, Toronto and Arizona. He went to Arizona along with Aaron Hill in a trade that sent Kelly Johnson to Toronto in August 2011.
McDonald appeared in a career-high 123 games with Toronto in 2007 and batted .251. He is a .237 career hitter.
“We like the defense and we like the player,” Huntington said. “Secondarily, he brings experience. He’s been through the battles.”
Braves 18, Pirates 9
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) – Freddie Freeman was already fitting in nicely in the cleanup spot for Atlanta. Now, the Braves also have leadoff batter Andrelton Simmons back and he’s hitting well, too.
Simmons, who just returned from the World Baseball Classic, and Freeman each hit two home runs to help the Braves beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 18-9 on Wednesday.
The Braves finished with 21 hits and have totaled 35 runs in their past two games.
The Braves don’t count on the slick-fielding Simmons for homers. But they need Freeman to continue his spring power surge into the season as he takes over the fourth spot in the batting order.
“He one of the most naturally talented young hitters in baseball,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “I’m not surprised (with what he’s doing).”
The first baseman, who has five of his seven spring homers in his past six games, was 4 for 4 and drove in four runs. He is batting .373 (22 for 59) and has 15 RBIs.
Kyle McPherson, competing for a spot in the Pittsburgh rotation, worked 4 2-3 innings and gave up 10 hits and nine runs (eight earned).
“He was trying to follow a game plan and that was problematic,” Hurdle said. “Command was up early. The execution part of the arsenal was really inconsistent. That’s what went sideways on him.”
Andrew McCutchen hit a homer off Minor in the third inning and was 2 for 4 with two RBIs. The Pirates had 16 hits, but 14 were singles.