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Chicago Cubs sign RHP James McDonald to minor-league deal


The Chicago Cubs have signed starter James McDonald to a minor-league deal that includes a Spring Training invitation, according to a source from 670 the Score baseball insider Bruce Levine.

McDonald, 29, hit the free agent market in September when he refused an assignment from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The right-hander only had six starts in 2013 and finished with a 5.76 ERA in 29 2/3 innings at the major league level. At Triple-A Indianapolis, McDonald suffered a 6.55 ERA due to control issues in 33 innings.

McDonald was originally drafted in the 11th round of the 2002 amateur draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He has spent the past six seasons with the Dodgers and the last four with the Pirates. McDonald has a 32-30 career record with a 4.20 ERA and 442 strike outs and 231 walks, 4.1 BB/9 and 7.8 K/9.

McDonald marks the second pitcher signing for the Cubs on Friday, joined by Jason Hammel. Both have suffered injuries in their careers, McDonald a shoulder injury and Hammel with an elbow injury.

McDonald is two-years younger than Hammel and will contend for a spot on the starting rotation. If he does not make the it, he will likely be released or see time in mid-relief for the Cubs at the major league level at a small price.

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