There was a time in James McDonald's career - any point before a month ago actually - when the Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander would get two strikes on a batter and get cute.
Rather than stay on the attack, McDonald tried to paint corners. It led to long at bats and short outings.
In spring training, pitching coach Ray Searage decided it was time for a chat.
''I said `Dude you've got to get a little bit more pitch efficient, get the hitter out in four pitches, induce contact with three pitches or less,''' Searage said.
More importantly, Searage told the talented but inconsistent 27-year-old to trust his stuff and trust his catcher. Do both and Searage promised McDonald he could become the kind of guy the Pirates could build a rotation around.
The goal is to make McDonald more efficient, not turn him into strikeout pitcher.
It's happening anyway.
McDonald (2-1) has 25 strikeouts over his last three starts for the Pirates, who open a three-game series on Tuesday against Washing...