Chicago Cubs: Darnell McDonald

Ex-OF McDonald joins Cubs front office

April, 15, 2014
Apr 15
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
NEW YORK -- The Chicago Cubs have hired former outfielder Darnell McDonald as a baseball operations assistant, the team announced on Tuesday.

McDonald, 35, retired from baseball at the end of spring training which he spent with the Cubs in Arizona. He was a 16-year professional having spent last season with the Cubs, appearing in 25 games. He finished as a career .250 hitter with 20 home runs in parts of seven major league seasons.

In his new role McDonald will contribute to "all elements within the club's player development and amateur scouting departments," according to a release. He’ll also visit minor league teams and help evaluate amateur players leading up to the draft.

Countdown to Camp: Outfield

February, 3, 2014
Feb 3
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
Junior LakeRob Grabowski/USA TODAY SportsAfter batting .295 through August, Junior Lake trailed off in September, batting .254.
With Chicago Cubs spring training set to begin Feb. 14 in Mesa, Ariz., we’re taking an early look around the diamond.

Major additions since Opening Day 2013: Junior Lake, Ryan Sweeney, Justin Ruggiano

Subtractions: David DeJesus, Alfonso Soriano

Holdovers: Nate Schierholtz


Do you think Junior Lake has what it takes to be an every-day starter?


Discuss (Total votes: 2,563)

Analysis: Going into spring training, the Cubs have four players for three starting spots in the outfield, with Lake, Sweeney, Schierholtz and Ruggiano set to get the bulk of the playing time. Lake is the player to watch. He burst onto the scene in the second half of 2013, giving the Cubs an intriguing option as a potential power guy who still likes to lay down a bunt and take off on the bases. He tailed off some as the league got to know him, striking out 68 times in 64 games. Still, he opened some eyes as a potential overachiever, and now he’ll get a full spring to learn the outfield after years as an infielder. He likes center field more than left, but he’ll probably start in the latter spot. And he’ll get the chance to play himself into the core of the team with little competition forcing him out of the lineup. Ruggiano is valuable simply because he has right-handed pop -- he hit 18 home runs last season, which is something the Cubs lacked after moving Soriano. The Cubs still have veteran Darnell McDonald kicking around, and former No. 3 overall pick Josh Vitters has moved from infield to outfield.

Outlook: New manager Rick Renteria will have an easier time rotating the outfield than Dale Sveum did a season ago because the Cubs are more balanced. Expect the left-handed Sweeney and Ruggiano to split time in center while Lake and Schierholtz will get the occasional day off in left and right field as well. Schierholtz set career highs in several offensive categories in 2013, and if he comes close to repeating those numbers he’ll be traded midseason before he becomes a free agent. Again, Lake is the one to watch in the outfield. Can he get to the next level as an everyday starter?

Rapid Reaction: Pirates 3, Cubs 1

September, 12, 2013
Rogers By Jesse Rogers

Here's a quick look at the Chicago Cubs' 3-1 road loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday:

How it happened: The Pirates scored a pair of two-out runs in the fourth inning on singles by Marlon Byrd and Pedro Alvarez after hits by Jordy Mercer and Andrew McCutchen earlier in the inning. They added another two-out run on a single by Clint Barmes, followed by a double from Mercer in the bottom of the eighth. The Cubs scored their lone run on a two-out single by Starlin Castro in the third that drove in Darnell McDonald, who had doubled. They put the tying runs on base in the ninth with no outs, but the rally stalled there. Chris Rusin held the Pirates in check for most of the night in his seven innings by giving up only four hits without walking anyone. In fact, Rusin held the Pirates hitless in six of his seven innings, as all four Pittsburgh hits came in the fourth, when it scored its first two runs.

What it means: Rusin became the Cubs' third starter in four games, all against playoff-caliber teams, to not issue a walk. He faced the minimum in six of seven innings and nearly got out of the fourth with no damage after getting Mercer in a rundown for the second out. As is, he gave up one extra-base hit and three singles but still lost the game. It remains to be seen if Rusin is a mainstay for the rotation next season, but from the beginning of spring training through his minor league season at Triple-A Iowa, to his 60 innings with the Cubs, he has given more than an honest effort. Even in setting new highs in innings pitched as a professional, Rusin continues to keep his team in the game more often than not.

Up next: Game 2 of the series takes place on Friday night when Jake Arrieta (3-4, 5.49 ERA) faces Charlie Morton (7-4, 3.44).

Rapid Reaction: Cubs 9, Reds 1

September, 10, 2013
Rogers By Jesse Rogers

CINCINNATI -- Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Cubs’ 9-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday:

How it happened: The Cubs' offense had it going all night long, starting with two-run homers in the second and third innings to stake a lead for Edwin Jackson, while Reds starter Tony Cingrani left the game early with back spasms. Welington Castillo hit a long one in the second off Cingrani, who exited in the third inning. Donnie Murphy promptly homered off of reliever Greg Reynolds, and a few minutes later Darnell McDonald singled home Junior Lake as the Cubs led 5-0 after three. They added a run in the fourth on a Darwin Barney sacrifice fly, then Murphy doubled home another run in the sixth. Castillo went deep again to left center in the seventh, while Jackson did the same a few moments later, the second home run of his career. Jackson got big outs when he needed them on the mound; double-play balls in the third and fifth innings were particularly helpful. He lasted seven innings, giving up one run on nine hits with no walks.

What it means: Castillo’s offensive attack in the second half has him turning into a complete player. His home runs were no-doubters as his patience at the plate has paid off. ... Murphy continues to stake a claim for a roster spot next season, as his 10 home runs have come in just 110 at-bats. ... Jackson had to deal with a very hot night but battled through his seven innings. He showed a lot in not giving in even when there were runners on base. It’s been an up-and-down season for Jackson, now 8-15, but he hasn’t thrown in the towel.

Outside the box: According to ESPN Stats & Information, Castillo’s second-inning home run traveled 443 feet, third farthest for the Cubs this season. Only Anthony Rizzo has hit a longer dinger. Castillo’s went several rows into the upper deck. ... For the second night in a row the Cubs’ starting pitcher didn’t walk a batter, which is impressive considering the Reds came into the series leading the league in that category. ... Before the game, Cubs manager Dale Sveum said he would use a six-man starting staff for the next two turns through the rotation. It means Scott Baker will get two more starts after a shutout performance on Sunday over five innings. For the final eight games, Sveum will stay with a five-man staff, giving Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood and Edwin Jackson an extra start each.

What’s next: The Cubs go for the sweep on Wednesday, when Samardzija takes on Mike Leake at 11:35 a.m. CT at Great American Ball Park.

McDonald happy to be in bigs again

August, 11, 2013
By Rob Rains
Special to
ST. LOUIS -- Darnell McDonald said Sunday he would not use the word “surprise” to describe his reaction to being called up by the Chicago Cubs from Triple-A Iowa. He did, however, use the word happy three times in a span of five minutes.

[+] EnlargeDarnell McDonald
Jim Rogash/Getty ImagesDarnell McDonald played in 42 games last season for the Red Sox and Yankees.
McDonald returned to the major leagues for the first time since July 13 of last year when he was summoned to replace catcher J.C. Boscan on the roster.

“I’m just happy to be here,” McDonald said. “It’s always a good day when you get an opportunity to play in the big leagues.”

McDonald, 34, has played 306 games in the major leagues over the past nine years, getting there for the first time as a 25-year-old rookie with the Orioles in 2004. He played in 42 games last year between stints with the Red Sox and Yankees.

He signed with the Cubs last winter as a minor-league free agent, and had spent the first four months of the season at Triple-A, where he hit .236 in 92 games with four homers and 26 RBIs.

(Read full post)

Cubs purchase contract of OF McDonald

August, 10, 2013
By Rob Rains, Special to
Special to
ST. LOUIS -- Dioner Navarro’s speedy recovery after a home plate collision Wednesday prompted the Chicago Cubs to return catcher J.C. Boscan to Triple-A Iowa on Saturday and purchase the contract of outfielder Darnell McDonald.

“Navarro’s fine, so we didn’t need another catcher and we do need another position player,” manager Dale Sveum said. “Darnell has been swinging the bat really well down there so we will give him a shot and see what happens.”

McDonald, 34, has played parts of six seasons in the majors with the Orioles, Twins, Reds, Red Sox and Yankees. He originally was a first-round pick of Baltimore in the 1997 draft. He arrived in St. Louis shortly before Saturday night’s game.

(Read full post)

Still some moving pieces after Cubs cuts

March, 22, 2013
Rogers By Jesse Rogers

MESA, Ariz. -- The Chicago Cubs must be stacked with pitching if they can afford to cut two pitchers who produced 0.00 ERAs in spring games.

Casey Coleman and Blake Parker must be wondering what they have to do to make the team. But of course it's more complicated than that. Both of them can move up and down from the minors without clearing waivers while Michael Bowden, for example, can't. Bowden is in, as is Rule 5 pick Hector Rondon. Because of those draft rules Rondon can't simply be sent down as well. Neither threw poorly this spring but they had a head start on the competition.

Coleman and Parker were sent down as part of a wave of cuts on Friday. Let's analyze a couple more of them:

(Read full post)

Sappelt makes Cubs as fifth outfielder

March, 22, 2013
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
MESA, Ariz. -- Dave Sappelt made the roster as a fifth outfielder after the Chicago Cubs paired down their roster to 35 players on Friday.

Pitchers Chris Rusin, Drew Carpenter, Jaye Chapman, Casey Coleman, Jensen Lewis and Blake Parker will report to minor league camp as will infielders Edwin Maysonet and Brad Nelson. Outfielders Brian Bogusevic and Darnell McDonald also were sent down.

"Those days you dread," manager Dame Sveum said Friday morning. "Especially a lot of those guys that went down today, they had good springs. Bogusevic had a really good spring training. The Colemans, the Parkers, they all threw the ball well."

The final infield position is down to Steve Clevenger and Alberto Gonzalez. Gonzalez is the likely candidate unless the Cubs go outside the organization.

"There's still things that can happen through guys getting released and waiver wires and all that," Sveum said.

The bullpen has one spot open among four players with Hector Rondon and Michael Bowden securing jobs along with James Russell, Shawn Camp, Kyuji Fujikawa and Carlos Marmol. That leaves lefty Hisanori Takahashi battling with righties Rafael Dolis, Zach Putnam and Cory Wade for the final spot.

Four players including Matt Garza, Scott Baker, Ian Stewart and Arodys Vizcaino will start the season on the disabled list.

Opening Day lineup all but set

March, 18, 2013
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
[+] EnlargeCubs
Jesse Rogers/ESPNChicago.comDale Sveum posted Tuesday's Cubs lineup, which is expected to be the same on opening day.
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum revealed that his starting lineup for Tuesday’s contest against the Texas Rangers at Hohokam Park will most likely be his opening day lineup for the regular season.

David DeJesus will lead off and play centerfield, followed by Starlin Castro at shortstop. Anthony Rizzo bats third and plays first base while Alfonso Soriano will bat cleanup and play left field. Newcomer Nate Schierholtz bats fifth in right field followed by Welington Castillo at catcher. Luis Valbuena starts at third base and bats seventh followed by Darwin Barney at second base.

Jeff Samardzija will pitch on opening day against the Pittsburgh Pirates, but it's Chris Rusin's turn on Tuesday against the Rangers.

(Read full post)

Cubs avoid arbitration with INF Valbuena

January, 10, 2013
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs announced the signing Thursday of infielder Luis Valbuena to a one-year deal to avoid salary arbitration.

The contract, which only becomes guaranteed if he makes the team, is for $930,000, according to a source familiar with the situation. Valbuena, 27, hit .219 in 90 games for the Cubs last season.

The Cubs also announced 16 non-rostered players were invited to spring training, including former White Sox infielder Brent Lillibridge. The list contains players who have signed minor league deals with invites to major league camp: OF Brian Bogusevic, Catcher J.C. Boscan, RHP Andrew Carpenter, RHP Jaye Chapman, OF Johermyn Chavez, RHP Dayan Diaz, INF Alberto Gonzalez, RHP Jensen Lewis, INF Edwin Maysonet, OF Darnell McDonald, 1B/OF Brad Nelson, RHP Blake Parker, RHP Zack Putnam, LHP Hisanori Takahashi, RHP Cory Wade.



Jake Arrieta
10 2.53 167 156
BAS. Castro .292
HRA. Rizzo 32
RBIA. Rizzo 78
RA. Rizzo 89
OPSA. Rizzo .913
ERAT. Wood 5.03
SOJ. Arrieta 167