Darnell still earning keep
It was the night of May 24, and the Red Sox had just completed a 6-1 victory over the Rays. It wasn’t the type of occasion manager Terry Francona felt like giving bad news to one of his players, but that’s what he did. Darnell McDonald was told that the club planned on designating him for assignment the next day. A roster spot was needed so that Mike Cameron could be activated
So McDonald got himself an evening flight back to Boston on May 25, and spent the day relaxing at the luxurious team hotel in St. Petersburg, wondering which team he would wind up with next. But during batting practice that night, Jacoby Ellsbury’s ribs went bad on him again. The Red Sox, savvy enough not to have made an official roster move yet regarding McDonald, frantically called him to make sure he was still in town.
A sleepy McDonald — whose eyes closed during a hotel room viewing of the Book of Eli by Denzel Washington — answered. “Can you get here in time to be available tonight?” was the basic message delivered by Francona. There it was, McDonald was back in business. And he has been on the roster ever since, getting key hits, and in Friday night’s game at the very site he was told earlier this year his services were no longer needed — making a perfect throw to the plate to cut down the tying run.
Cameron is out for year and Ellsbury probably is too. McDonald? He has been a key performer for the Red Sox in August, hitting .353 with two homers, five RBis, a .421 on-base percentage and a .735 slugging percentage in 34 at-bats.
Tonight against tough righty Matt Garza, McDonald will not be in the lineup. Instead, the Sox will go with Nava-Kalish-Drew.