Friday, July 6, 2012
D-Mac returns to Fenway with visiting Yanks
By Bill Humphrey
BOSTON -- Bobby Valentine was asked Friday whether former Red Sox outfielder Darnell McDonald's presence on the Yankees meant the Sox would change their signs.
"Darnell was one of the guys who knew the signs," the Sox manager said. "We're going to change them."
Meanwhile, in the visitors' clubhouse at Fenway Park, some Yankees said that while they wouldn't ask a new player to reveal information about his old team, they would listen if he were to approach them.
Valentine took a more aggressive stance on the issue.
"As soon as you get a guy from another team, you usually -- I say, 'Shake him down,' because about a day later they forget everything because they're learning new stuff. As soon as you get them, you say, 'What do they do in this situation?' and you might get some good information. Darnell's a student; he's not like a guy who sits at the end of the bench and just swings the bat. He cares about the game."
McDonald was designated for assignment by the Red Sox on June 30 in order to make room for Josh Beckett to come off the disabled list and make his start that night against the Seattle Mariners.
McDonald didn't last long on the waiver wire; he was picked up by the Yankees on Wednesday. He was officially added to the Yankees' roster Friday, when he joined his new teammates at Fenway, his familiar dreadlocks trimmed off in accordance with the Yankees' clean-cut policy.
"It's been a while since I've been over here," McDonald said of being in the visitors' clubhouse. "It's a lot bigger than when I was over here last, but you know it's a great group of guys over here. You know, still playing the same game, so that makes it easier making that switch. It's a great clubhouse over here; they welcome me over here. I cut my hair off, and you know, starting a new chapter."
McDonald is now playing for his fifth team in six major league seasons after previous stints with Baltimore, Minnesota and Cincinnati. He called Boston home for the longest stretch, as he played for the Red Sox for three seasons. Over his career with Boston, he posted a .252 batting average, collecting 31 doubles, 4 triples, 17 home runs, 67 RBIs, 12 stolen bases and an on-base percentage of .323.
Before being designated for assignment by the Sox, the 33-year-old outfielder appeared in 38 games this season, hitting .214 with 7 doubles, 2 homers and 9 RBIs.
When asked how he felt about being a Yankee, McDonald said, "I mean, it's strange. It's just good to be back playing baseball. Tough couple days sitting at home not being able to go to the yard. But you know if you gotta go somewhere, this is not a bad place to come. I'm happy to be here, be a part of this organization."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi seems happy to have McDonald aboard.
"He will play some outfield for us against some of the lefties," Girardi said. "We can move some people around, which gives us a few more options on maybe who we DH sometimes, especially in a weekend like this."
With the Yankees, McDonald will have a role that's similar to the one he filled for the Red Sox. He will provide depth for the Yankees' outfield while Brett Gardner continues to work his way back off the disabled list. McDonald also will be competing with Dewayne Wise for a spot in the Yankees' outfield depth chart once Gardner returns from the disabled list.
"[It's] the same thing I was doing over there," McDonald said. "Just come to the field, be ready when your name's called, work hard, have fun, all those type of things. For me, I try to pride myself on being ready."
McDonald ended his career with the Red Sox by making a spectacular leaping catch over the right-field wall to take a home run away from the Blue Jays' Kelly Johnson in the ninth inning June 27. Given the chance, he just might be able to do it again against his former team this weekend.