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McDonald placed in 'pen after struggles

Dodgers place McDonald in 'pen

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LOS ANGELES -- Right-hander James McDonald's stint as a starter is over, at least for now.

Dodgers manager Joe Torre announced Saturday that right-hander Jeff Weaver will take McDonald's spot in the rotation following McDonald's struggles Thursday, when he allowed three runs over just 1 2/3 innings against the Padres.

"J-Mac just looked so uncomfortable last time," Torre said. "No offense to the young man, but we had him earmarked to be in the bullpen from the start, but he was kind of forced into starting."

McDonald has struggled with his control this season. As a starter, he has walked 14 batters in just 14 1/3 innings to accompany an 8.16 ERA this season.

But McDonald, who will now be the team's long reliever along with Ramon Troncoso, pitched brilliantly out of the bullpen last season, tossing 11 1/3 scoreless innings -- including 5 1/3 scoreless innings against the Phillies in the National League Championship Series.

That's why Torre took him aside Thursday after his poor start and reminded the young pitcher of his success last season.

"I just told him, 'Remember you pitched on this mound last year in October?'" Torre said. "So he just has to think about those things."

Meanwhile, Weaver looked great Thursday when he tossed four scoreless innings in relief of McDonald to help the Dodgers, who came back to win the game, 8-5.

Weaver began the season with Triple-A Albuquerque to build up strength in case he needed to start for the Dodgers. Fellow veteran Eric Milton is currently doing the same thing at Triple-A, so Torre said Weaver's move to the rotation is hardly set in stone.

"It's just for this time around," Torre said. "We're just doing this on the go right now. We don't have any long-range plans right now. We're just trying to piece it together until we find the right guy."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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