Darnell McDonald is Ready for Action with the Red Sox
- Updated: March 11, 2011
In Monday’s Red Sox / Orioles game, Darnell McDonald kicked off the Red Sox ninth inning rally with a double. It brought the crowd to their feet as they appreciated what Darnell does for this team. He came into the game as a substitute and delivered when his name was called. The Sox would win the game 6-5 after being down a run in the eighth inning.
After bouncing around with ten different minor league teams since 1998, McDonald has found a home with the Red Sox. He had brief major league stints with the Orioles, Twins and Reds over the years before finally landing with the Sox in 2010. He certainly made the best of his opportunity in 2010, and became a fan favorite as a back-up player in Boston.
Darnell hit a surprising .412 in his first spring training with the Sox last year, eventually earning the fourth outfielder role for the team, behind Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Cameron and JD Drew. As it turned out, Ellsbury and Cameron spent much of the year on the DL, opening a spot for McDonald to play 117 games, more than twice what he had played in the majors before 2010. He was versatile in the outfield, playing 69 games in center, 34 in right and 30 in left. He was versatile at the plate too. In his 363 plate appearances he batted .270 with 18 doubles, nine homeruns and nine stolen bases.
With the addition of Carl Crawford to the Red Sox already potent outfield this year, Darnell appears to be Boston’s fifth outfielder. He is embracing this role, but he doesn’t refer to it as the fifth outfielder, his role is really just to be ready for anything.
“My role is to be ready when my name is called,” Darnell said. “Basically that’s what I did last year, stay ready, you never know when your name’s gonna be called. The main thing for me is to stay ready, that’s pretty much what my role is.”
He has appeared in six of the team’s first nine spring training games and is batting .286.
“It’s going well, I’m just trying to get in the swing of things, stay healthy and get ready for the season,” McDonald explained. “As a hitter, we’re all just trying to work on the same thing, getting used to seeing live pitching again, working on our timing and putting some good swings on the ball.”
He is happy to be a part of this team, one that is favored by many to have a great year.
“Everyone feels like we have the opportunity to do something special this year. Everyone is focused and ready to start the season.”
Nobody can predict how many games Darnell will appear in this year, but whatever the number, he plans to be ready.