MacDonald encouraged by gem

If Michael MacDonald pitches today as he did Saturday for the 51s, the crowd at Cashman Field won’t have much time to take advantage of "Dollar Beer Night."

The right-hander, who will start for Las Vegas against Salt Lake, the Angels’ top affiliate, needed only two hours, eight minutes to complete a two-hit, 7-0 victory over Fresno.

MacDonald (1-0) allowed two singles, walked none and struck out seven in the first shutout by a 51s pitcher at Cashman Field in nearly two years.

MacDonald said he and catcher Brian Jeroloman "got in a rhythm early in the game" and that he didn’t have to shake off any of his signs.

"I was able to attack the hitters and get some quick outs," MacDonald said.

Las Vegas pitching coach Tom Signore called MacDonald’s gem "a template of how to pitch at this park."

"He changed speeds very well, but the thing he did best was pitch inside," Signore said. "He broke a lot of bats."

MacDonald, who threw 62 of 85 pitches for strikes, prides himself on being a fast worker on the mound.

"That’s one of my big things, is get a good tempo going and get a good pace to the game," he said. "Everyone likes a faster-paced game, so I try to play that way."

MacDonald, 29, might work fast, but his career has progressed slowly. The eighth-year pro is still waiting to make his major league debut.

Drafted by Toronto in the 15th round in 2004 out of the University of Maine, MacDonald toiled for five seasons in the minors, reaching Triple-A Syracuse, before getting released by the Blue Jays in spring training 2009.

He signed with the Angels soon after and spent the entire 2009 season with Salt Lake, going 8-13 with a 6.37 ERA.

He signed with the Giants last year and went 5-8 with a 3.90 ERA for Double-A Richmond.

"I was just happy I got a job last year and was able to compete and set myself up for a job this year," he said.

After talking with several teams before this season, MacDonald thought Toronto offered the best fit and began his second stint with the organization.

"I figured if I was able to prove myself on the field, they’d give me a fair shake at making a roster and having a chance to compete," MacDonald said. "I’m happy and fortunate to still be playing and have a job and be able to play with a bunch of guys I’ve known before."

In two starts this season, the Maine native has allowed only one earned run on eight hits in 14 1/3 innings with two walks and 10 strikeouts.

"He’s at the height of his game right now," Signore said.

When MacDonald was handed his home uniform in Las Vegas, his name was spelled wrong, missing the second ‘d.’

But he shrugged off the mistake and wore the jersey, as is, during his two-hitter.

The only thing that matters to him is keeping his big league hopes alive.

"As long as I’m able to keep that uniform on my back and compete at a high level, I’m going to continue to do it until someone says no or my body says no," he said. "If it’s in the cards, it’s in the cards. If it’s not, I can say that I gave it everything I had."

n NOTE — Toronto sent right-handers Daniel Farquhar and Jesse Litsch to Las Vegas, which sent right-hander Yohan Pino to Double-A New Hampshire.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0354.

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