Sox designate McDonald for assignment
June, 30, 2012
By John Hickey | ESPNBoston.com
SEATTLE -- The last time Darnell McDonald went through this, it seemed final.
Greg M. Cooper/US PresswireDarnell McDonald pitched in where needed in his time with Boston. But like this May 6 emergency relief appearance, things didn't work out.
It's been two years since McDonald was designated for assignment by the Boston Red Sox in what might have been the quickest DFA on record.
Jacoby Ellsbury immediately went out and injured his ribs early in 2010. McDonald hadn't even gotten to the airport to fly home when he got the call: All was forgiven and would he please come back?
He wound up playing in 117 games for the Sox that year. But that number dropped to 70 games played in 2011 thanks in small part to an injured quad. And he'd played in just 38 of the first 77 games this season when he got the word midday Saturday that he was being handed the DFA card once again.
"Dream come true to play in Boston want to wish my boys good luck the rest of the year! Much love to RSN! #ShowGoesOn," McDonald tweeted Saturday.
The Red Sox needed to make a move to get Saturday's starting pitcher, Josh Beckett, off the disabled list and eligible to play. It wasn't a huge surprise since McDonald had gotten just 28 at-bats in June.
"He's one of the guys you love to have here," manager Bobby Valentine said of the 33-year-old McDonald, who played all three outfield positions in his 2½ seasons with the Red Sox. "He helped us win games defensively and offensively. He's a well-respected guy."
The respect couldn't outweigh the numbers. Boston has been getting good work out of Daniel Nava, Cody Ross and Ryan Kalish of late, and Ryan Sweeney is due off the disabled list next week. Beyond that, Ellsbury and Carl Crawford both should be back mid-July or so.
"With all the outfielders we have eventually coming back, his number eventually would have come," Valentine said. "We decided to do it now."
The Red Sox now have 10 days to trade McDonald, release him or sign him to a minor league deal. At 33, it seems unlikely he'd want to go down to the minors after having been taken off the roster.
McDonald leaves with a .214 batting average, two homers and nine RBIs for the season. He's a career .248 hitter with 18 homers and 78 RBIs, and in 2010, his best year with the Sox, he averaged .270 while hitting nine homers and delivering 30 RBIs in 319 at-bats.