04/03/12 10:12 PM ET
McDonald rebounds as Bucs end spring slate
By Jay Greenberg / Special to MLB.com
"You have teammates," he smiled. "They always let me know what's going on.
"Ultimately, it's what happens when you play well. If you do that after a number of years, you make more money, like a lot of guys in the locker room. It never takes away from your work ethic. That's what I have seen and been able to correlate to what I am."
That is, not rich beyond his dreams just quite yet, but eminently prepared to excel in the Phillies' home opener Monday against the Marlins. Hamels scattered three Pirates hits during four scoreless innings of the Phillies' 7-2 victory Tuesday night, and pronounced himself as "strong" as he pledges to be mentally while contract speculation surrounds him.
"That's why I have an agent," he said. "I need to go out and pitch."
Likewise does Pirates starter James McDonald, an expected staple of their rotation. He gave up 10 runs in less than four innings in his previous start, but was much better Tuesday night in his final tuneup for his first regular-season start, against these same Phillies on Sunday in Pittsburgh.
McDonald walked -- on four pitches -- leadoff batter Shane Victorino, who came around on Hunter Pence's two-out double, but thereafter gave up only Carlos Ruiz's double in three innings.
"I don't know about urgency," McDonald said. "But when I bounce back from outings like I had the last time, it shows me I'm maturing a little bit."
The Pirates went ahead, 2-1, in the fifth on RBI hits by Robbie Grossman and Yamaico Navarro, but Placido Polanco's three-run homer against Tim Wood climaxed a four-run bottom of the inning. The Phillies added two runs in the eighth and closed out their spring schedule at 14-16-4, while the Pirates finished 9-20-2.
Jay Greenberg is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.