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Dodgers send pitcher James McDonald to minors

March 20, 2010 |  6:39 pm

James McDonald, the 25-year-old Long Beach native who has slumped badly after again being a contender for the fifth spot in the Dodgers' starting rotation when spring training began, was sent back to the minor leagues Saturday night.

The move came after the right-hander was rocked Friday night in a Cactus League game against the San Diego Padres. McDonald gave up six earned runs in only 1 1/3 innings, including a three-run home run by Dusty Ryan.

McDonald overall surrendered 12 earned runs in 5 1/3 innings this spring, and Dodgers Manager Joe Torre had signaled Saturday morning that McDonald might need to be in the minors to get enough practice to work out his problems.

The tall, lanky McDonald came out of camp a year ago as the team's fifth starter, but he wobbled in April. Then he moved to the bullpen and pitched relatively well for the rest of the season, going 4-4 with a 2.72 earned-run average.

-- Jim Peltz