03/31/11 7:08 PM ET
McDonald on track for Tuesday
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
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."
Pirates finalize Opening Day roster
CHICAGO -- The Pirates set their 25-man Opening Day roster on Thursday morning, one day in advance of the club's season opener against the Cubs at Wrigley Field at 2:20 p.m. ET.
Though the roster had come into focus over the past few days, the Pirates had to make some last moves in order to finalize it. Jose Veras will open the season in the bullpen after being added to the club's 40-man roster. That spot opened for the right-hander after the Pirates designated reliever Ramon Aguero for assignment.
That means the Pirates' Opening Day roster will include the following players:
Starters: Kevin Correia, Paul Maholm, Ross Ohlendorf, Charlie Morton, James McDonald
Relievers: Joel Hanrahan, Evan Meek, Chris Resop, Jeff Karstens, Veras, Mike Crotta, Garrett Olson
Catchers: Ryan Doumit, Jason Jaramillo
Infielders: Lyle Overbay, Neil Walker, Ronny Cedeno, Pedro Alvarez, Steve Pearce, Josh Rodriguez
Outfielders: Jose Tabata, Andrew McCutchen, Matt Diaz, Garrett Jones, John Bowker
Also on Thursday, the Pirates placed four players -- Chris Snyder, Jose Ascanio, Brad Lincoln and Scott Olsen -- on the disabled list.
Snyder will be eligible to come off the DL as early as April 9, since the stint can be backdated to the day after his final spring appearance. The catcher remains in Florida, where he is recovering from back soreness. He has not yet appeared in a game and won't be considered for reinstatement until he can catch consecutive nine-inning games.
Ascanio (rehabbing from right shoulder surgery), Lincoln (right forearm contusion) and Olsen (left shoulder inflammation) all must build up their arm strength after being sidelined for varying amounts of time this spring.
The Pirates have not yet determined whether Lincoln will begin the year in Triple-A or in extended spring training. Ascanio appeared in a few Minor League games recently, but general manager Neal Huntington said it is too premature to guess how long Ascanio might need before he can be considered for the Major League roster.
Doumit making fourth straight Opening Day start
CHICAGO -- Manager Clint Hurdle posted his Opening Day lineup a day early, and it includes a fourth straight Opening Day start for Ryan Doumit behind the plate.
Hurdle had already laid out the rest of his lineup plans -- which include having Andrew McCutchen, Lyle Overbay and Pedro Alvarez hitting third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the batting order. The inclusion of Doumit -- who will bat sixth -- comes as a result of Chris Snyder having to begin the season on the disabled list.
Experience, Hurdle said, was the deciding factor in choosing to have Doumit, not Jason Jaramillo, catch starter Kevin Correia on Friday.
"I think we've got enough young guys breaking in [on Friday] that we'll rely upon Ryan with some experience behind the plate," Hurdle said. "We'll use both. I know both of them have worked very hard, and both of them are trying to take ownership of trying to be the best catcher they can be to handle the staff."
Jaramillo will make at least one start during the three-game series against the Cubs; Hurdle didn't go so far as to promise the majority of the starts to one catcher over the other. Rather, Hurdle will look primarily at matchups when determining who will be in the lineup on any given day.
When Snyder (lower back stiffness) comes off the DL, he will step in as the team's primary catcher.
The Pirates announced on Thursday that players and coaches will wear a commemorative No. 7 patch on the right sleeve of their jersey this season to honor former manager Chuck Tanner. Tanner, who most recently served as a special assistant to general manager Neal Huntington, passed away on Feb. 11 at the age of 82. ... Right-hander Tim Wood has signed a Minor League deal with the Pirates. Wood, who will start with one of the organization's affiliates, was released by the Nationals on Thursday after allowing three earned runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 Grapefruit League innings. The former 44th-round Draft pick has made 44 career big league appearances out of the bullpen. ... The Pirates have traded Minor League infielder Jim Negrych to the Marlins for 21-year-old catcher Carlos Paulino. Negrych, a sixth-round Draft pick in 2006, had stalled in the Pirates' farm system since being named the organization's Minor League player of the year in 2008. Paulino, who was signed as a non-drafted free agent, hit .182 at the Class A level last year.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.