Pirates James McDonald's Intriguing Fall From Stardom: Photoshop Version

The Pittsburgh Pirates made the announcement that right-hander James McDonald  is finished with his rehab, but is going to remain on the disabled list due to discomfort in his shoulder.  What a tumble for JMac.

The pitcher has repeatedly stated he doesn’t have anything wrong with him – well, other than a mysterious blister on his pitching hand after one of his forgettable rehab starts in Altoona.

Today was the day McDonald should have returned to the big leagues.  But now, plans are different.  The Bucs said they were going to send McDonald to see Dr. James Andrews.  A scheduling conflict has changed the time frame on that for the time being.

McDonald was acquired in a trade with the L.A. Dodgers which sent Octavio Dotel to the West Coast and brought McDonald and slugger Andrew Lambo to Pittsburgh.  This time last year, it looked like one of the best trades of GM Neal Huntington’s career.  Actually, we would still put it in the top five after watching McDonald dominate last season.

But times have changed.

No longer are there Big Pimpin’ photoshops to make you smile.

The M in McDonald doesn’t stand for winner any longer.  It stands for mindfuc*.

It’s now been roughly twelve months since McDonald has pitched well.  It seems like yesterday when we were celebrating McDonald’s success with numerous funny photoshops.  It was a joyride watching McDonald dominate.  Now it’s a mystery what happened to all that success Pirates fans saw in 2012.

We thought we were going to be able to get heavy use out of this one. Our plan was easy–just add all of those strikeouts he was piling up before the All-Star break last year.

We envisioned a McDonald’s sign being erected at PNC Park….now we suppose the sign should include the letters HELP WANTED.  JMac is hurting.  Whether it’s a physical challenge he is having, or maybe it really is just all mental.  Either way, it’s a sad story.  But we think it’s not over.  McDonald has too much talent.

Despite all the talent that McDonald has in his right arm, it’s never been the same.  The struggles have caused our photoshops to change.  The glorious photoshops celebrating great start after great start turned into first inning Mayhem. Absolute Mayhem.

But maybe RumBunter is the reason for the fall from grace? The dreaded Sports Illustrated photoshop….damn.

Let’s trust that Dr. Andrews discovers something physically wrong with McDonald.  The starter did show reduced velocity and sketchy command when pitching in April.  It seems like having some type of surgery might be the quickest possible route back to success.  And more photoshops like this.

The Pirates could really use another starting pitcher.  A rebound by McDonald to the pitcher he was, or even something moderately close, has significant value to a small market club.  But just thinking what could occur if this isn’t a physical injury is frightening to this Pirates fan.

It’s difficult to envision a rebound for McDonald in Pittsburgh if this is a mental challenge or something similar,  which has been hinted at in a few conversations by Clint Hurdle.

“He feels he’s going to be fine, he is fine, he’s going to be  fine.”  Clint Hurdle, May 31

Guess what?  Almost a month later, McDonald is not fine.

Curing mental challenges seems a lot more difficult than Dr. Andrews working his magic.  Light a candle.  We think Dr. Andrews needs to find something wrong.  Because if he doesn’t, the odds of McDonald being back on the PNC Park mound seem bleak.

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