Pirates make trade for backup infielder

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ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Pirates acquired veteran infielder John McDonald from the Arizona Diamondbacks Wednesday in a move that became necessary when they lost young shortstop Chase d'Arnaud for six to eight weeks with a hand injury.

The Pirates will send cash or a player to be named later to the Diamondbacks.

McDonald, 38, will be the team's backup shortstop behind Clint Barmes. He is a career .238 hitter and adds experience to an otherwise young bench. He hit .249 in 70 games with the Diamondbacks in 2012 with nine doubles and six home runs.

"He provides us some depth and some stability at a spot that all of a sudden we didn't have a lot of depth and a lot of stability," general manager Neal Huntington said.

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Pirates placed infielder Chase d'Arnaud on the 60-day disabled list.

D'Arnaud had surgery Monday for a torn ligament in his left hand, an operation that requires six to eight weeks to recover.

D'Arnaud sustained the injury in a rundown drill last week and traveled to the Cleveland Clinic over the weekend to have it observed by orthopedic surgeon and hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham.

"I kind of knew when I got there that I was going to have the surgery," d'Arnaud said.

McDonald is in the second year of a two-year contract and is owed $1.5 million this season.

"Without the injury to Chase, we're not as motivated to make this type of move," Huntington said.

McDonald had a .995 fielding percentage at shortstop in 2012 and is a career .973 fielder at the position.

"He's a professional player with a lot of experience," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He's got infield presence, clubhouse presence. He's just a seasoned vet."

The move also means Jordy Mercer, who played as Barmes' backup for most of 2012, is in competition for a utility bench spot.

"This gives us a backup catcher, it gives us a backup shortstop," Huntington said. "We've got one more infielder that we'll compete to find here in spring training. And then, the extra two spots -- it may be two outfielders, it may be one outfielder and one infielder. Time will tell as it plays out because we do have versatility."

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Michael Sanserino: msanserino@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1722 or on Twitter: @msanserino.


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