BRADENTON, Fla. -- Consider James McDonald the swing state of the Pirates' rotation.
Think about most of the discussion concerning the rotation. It usually follows a similar formula, first assuming that A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez are cemented atop the rotation before launching into the various permutations at the bottom. At the center lies McDonald, capable of great things yet needing to prove he can do so for a full season.
McDonald understands. He knows how poorly he pitched in the second half of 2012 but has not allowed himself to forget how good he was in the first half. To recapture that, he plans to slow down and prevent overthrowing, improve his stamina and focus on the art of pitching rather than his pure stuff.
"I was out there thinking, I got to throw this harder, I got to make this nasty to get better," McDonald said. "No, just be more consistent. Make the pitch a little better. Don't try to throw it no harder, don't try to make the curveball break no better. Just be a little more consistent."
In today's Post-Gazette: McDonald's lessons from last season.
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