PAWTUCKET – Darnell McDonald knows that the Red Sox need outfield help in the worst way possible. That’s why the 33-year-old is holding out hope that his rehab assignment with the Pawtucket Red Sox is of the short and sweet variety.
“Hopefully it won’t be more than a few days; a lot of guys up there are out,” noted McDonald Friday prior to going 0-for-1 with a sacrifice fly while playing five innings in left field for the PawSox.
Naturally, getting back into the swing of things is McDonald’s first priority. He was placed on the disabled list earlier this month with a right oblique strain. Judging by the heavy bandage that engulfed McDonald’s midsection following an afternoon workout session, this was no ordinary tweak.
“The oblique is different for everybody. For me, I was trying to battle through it for a while before we got to a point where we said ‘Let’s just get it 100 percent and go from there,’” said McDonald, a .179 hitter in 26 games for the Red Sox.
McDonald will take Saturday off before resuming his rehab schedule Sunday, which coincidentally is the first day he’s eligible to come off the disabled list. The Red Sox have 20 days to make a decision on when to reinstate him to the active roster.
“We’ll just see how everything progresses and how the body responds after each day,” he said.
For someone who has spent the better part of his Red Sox career as a part-time player, McDonald can certainly appreciate the job fill-ins such as Daniel Nava, Scott Podsednik and Che-Hsuan Lin have done in holding down the fort until reinforcements arrive.
“It’s been fun to watch, they’ve been doing a great job,” McDonald said about three players who not too long ago were patrolling the outfield for Pawtucket. “That’s what it’s going to take to get through the season – contributions from everybody.
“If you can come up and contribute in addition to winning games … when you win, the food tastes better, they play loud music in the clubhouse; that’s what it’s all about,” McDonald continued. “To see guys step in right away is definitely welcoming.”
McDonald’s arrival kicked off what is expected to be a steady stream of players rehabbing with the PawSox in the not-too-distant future, the list of hopefuls including outfielders Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury and Ryan Kalish along with relief pitcher Andrew Bailey.
Pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka will make his fourth start with the PawSox Saturday night with Boston manager Bobby Valentine telling the media Friday that the Japanese import will throw in the neighborhood of 75 pitches.
The return of Mauro Gomez has helped PawSox skipper Arnie Beyeler on a few fronts. Lars Anderson can officially resume his outfield duties, which in turn frees up Gomez to see time at first base. When Gomez was with the Red Sox, Anderson became the only first baseman Beyeler had at his disposal.
Beyeler mentioned that Gomez brought an outfielder’s glove back from his Boston stint.
“Every once in a while, we’ve got to try and get him a little time in the outfield, maybe once a series,” said the manager. “Mauro’s a little further away from being game ready to get out there, but he’s working at it.”