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McDonald feels shoulder stiffness after two pitches

Right-hander missed most of last season because of injuries

McDonald feels shoulder stiffness after two pitches

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs pitcher James McDonald, who struggled with shoulder problems last season, threw two pitches and had to be lifted from his start on Monday against the Athletics in Phoenix because of right shoulder soreness.

"He's shaking his arm when we went out there just to talk to him," Cubs manager Rick Renteria told reporters after his club's 6-2 loss in Phoenix. "He felt that his arm wasn't feeling right, so we just said, 'OK, we'll just not take any chances. Let's go ahead and take him in and he'll be evaluated.'"

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McDonald was a candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation, and there are only two weeks remaining in Spring Training.

"There are any number of ways we can do it," Renteria said about building endurance. "But right now, as it stands, I just want to make sure he's OK."

McDonald, 29, will be evaluated on Tuesday. The right-hander, a free agent who signed with the Cubs in February, had a tough time last season with the Pirates. He was limited to six games because of shoulder issues, and posted a 2-2 record and 5.76 ERA. Pittsburgh designated him for assignment in September and outrighted him to Triple-A Indianapolis, but McDonald refused the assignment and elected free agency.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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