MCDONALD, DARNELL  
 
Image of    Nickname:   N/A Position:   Mental Skills
Home: Phoenix, Arizona Team:   CUBS ORG.
Height: 5' 11" Bats:   R
Weight: 210 Throws:   R
DOB: 11/17/1978 Agent: Don Mitchell
Birth City: Fort Collins, Colorado Draft: Orioles #1 - 1997 - Out of Cherry Creek H.S. (Colo.)
Uniform #: N/A  
 
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO OBP SLG AVG
1998 SAL DELMARVA     528 87 138 24 5 6 44 35   33 117     .261
1998 CAR FREDERICK     18 3 4 2 0 1 2 2   3 6     .222
1999 CAR FREDERICK     507 81 135 23 5 6 73 26   61 92     .266
2000 EL BOWIE   116 459 59 111 13 5 6 43 11   29 87     .242
2001 EL BOWIE   30 117 16 33 7 1 3 21 3   9 28     .282
2001 IL ROCHESTER   104 391 37 93 19 2 2 35 13   29 75     .238
2002 EL BOWIE   37 144 21 42 9 1 4 15 9   22 27     .292
2002 IL ROCHESTER   91 332 43 96 21 6 6 35 11   32 78     .289
2003 IL OTTAWA   40 152 19 45 7 1 0 20 5   18 27     .296
2004 IL OTTAWA   107 410 44 96 32 1 7 44 12   34 100     .234
2004 AL ORIOLES $300.00 17 32 3 5 1 0 0 1 1   2 6     .156
2005 IL BUFFALO-DURHAM   99 359 56 101 20 2 13 38 7   27 81     .281
2006 IL DURHAM   136 538 80 157 33 1 14 57 30 12 47 115   .435 .292
2007 IL CLIPPERS   73 267 39 84 17 4 2 41 14 5 31 64   .431 .315
2007 IL ROCHESTER   61 224 32 62 12 2 5 32 19 2 19 35 .339 .415 .277
2007 AL TWINS   4 10 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 .182 .100 .100
2008 IL ROCHESTER   93 369 53 99 25 4 11 57 19 3 36 81   .447 .268
2009 NL REDS $410.00 47 105 12 28 6 1 2 10 1 0 5 31 .306 .400 .267
2009 IL LOUISVILLE   73 280 42 88 22 7 9 40 8 3 16 56 .349 .539 .314
2010 IL PAWTUCKET   10 41 6 14 6 1 2 8 1 0 2 7 .372 .683 .341
2010 AL RED SOX   117 319 40 86 18 3 9 34 9 1 30 85 .336 .429 .270
2011 IL PAWTUCKET   9 29 6 10 3 0 2 11 1 2 5 6 .457 .655 .345
2011 AL RED SOX $470.00 79 157 26 37 6 1 6 24 2 3 14 33 .303 .401 .236
2012 AL RED SOX $507.00 38 84 17 18 7 0 2 9 1 1 12 17 .309 .369 .214
2012 AL YANKEES   4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000
2012 IL SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE   31 108 18 21 1 0 3 7 1 2 15 29 .298 .287 .194
2012 IL PAWTUCKET   6 21 2 4 3 0 0 2 0 0 0 6 .217 .333 .190
2013 NL CUBS   25 53 4 16 4 0 1 5 0 0 4 8 .351 .434 .302
2013 PCL IOWA   92 263 31 62 13 2 4 26 8 2 27 50 .307 .346 .236
PERSONAL:

  • Darnell is intelligent, soft-spoken and low-key. While he keeps to himself and is a bit introverted, his attitude, work ethic and character are pretty good. He just lacks the passion that you like to see, though beneath the surface, he is a winner with a cool, calm demeanor that allows him to perform well in the clutch.
  • McDonald may be the best athlete in Colorado history. He rushed for over 6,000 yards in leading Cherry Creek High School to three straight Colorado State Championships. In the 1996 game, he darted and danced for 333 yards and five touchdowns in the state championship game.

    He was going to play both football and baseball at Texas until the Orioles intervened, signing him for $1.9 million.

  • His classmates in high school selected him as the best-dressed person in the 1997 graduating class.

    ATHLETIC FAMILY

  • His father, Donzell, played in the Pirates organization. 

    After his career peaked in the Pirates' organization, Donzell watched his brother Ben play in the NBA and his brother James play in the NFL.

  • Darnell's father was also a clerk at a national brokerage firm.

  • Darnell's brother, Donzell, Jr., played minor league baseball for many years. He had brief cups of java with the Yankees (2001) and Royals (2002). For several years, Donzell has played independent league pro ball and in the Mexican League.

    And their cousin, James McDonald, played for the Pirates and was with the Cubs, along with Darnell, at 2014 Spring Training camp.

  • Darnell learned respect for himself and others from his divorced parents, Don and Nina, a social worker. He spent time with both parents while growing up in modest Glendale, Colorado.

  • A member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, McDonald always had time for his admirers. "He's a strong Christian, never that big-daddy type around campus," his high school coach, Mark Johnson, said. "It was unbelievable how people looked up to him, but he'd still go up and say 'hi' to a freshman and they'd just die. He was that type of kid. I consider him a second son."

  • He works hard. And he hustles. He is really a quiet young man who is trying his best to get the most out of his abilities

  • Darnell's mother, Nina, died in October 1999. It was very unexpected. She had a heart attack and was gone quickly. She was only 42 years old. It knocked Darnell's life completely off-balance.

    "I was very close to my mother," he says. "It was a big blow to me. It probably would have been a little different if my mother had cancer or something that had been inevitable that it was going to happen. But for my brother and me, it just came like something out of the blue."

    Darnell has a tattoo of his Mom's face on his right shoulder. He had told his Mom that he would get to the big leagues, that he would stick with baseball.

  • Growing up, Darnell said his favorite football player was Bo Jackson. And his favorite baseball player? That would be Bo Jackson, again. "I wish I could have been like him and played both sports," McDonald said with a laugh. "But I'm very happy playing baseball."

  • In 2001, while playing for the Rochester Red Wings, the speedy McDonald was matched up in a race against a 10-year-old gelding named Zippy Chippy in a promotion. The horse beat Darnell to the finish line.

    "It was actually supposed to be 40 yards, and they changed it to 50 at the last minute," Darnell said. "I was told that when you start, the horse usually sits there for about 10, 15 yards. But I got about 10 yards out and all I heard was this, 'Dah-doomp, Dah-doomp, Dah-doomp.' At that point, I knew it was over."

  • After the 2001 season, McDonald was languishing in the Orioles' system after hitting .238 for Triple-A Rochester, and his prospect tag was quickly fading. It was the last few weeks of the NFL season, and the Cleveland Browns were in a playoff push. Coach Butch Davis, who had recruited McDonald to the University of Miami during his prep days, called McDonald and offered a tryout.

    McDonald would practice and then serve as an emergency running back and kickoff return man. He would get his chance to play in the National Football League and satisfy that hunger for his love.

    He turned it down. McDonald, once again, wanted to show those around him, including himself, that he was loyal to baseball.

    "It just wasn't a situation that was right for me," he said. "I love to play baseball. And even though things weren't going well for me, I still wanted to stick with it. Now it's become a challenge for me." (Gary Washburn-MLB.com-3/23/04)

  • Darnell's upper body is filled with tattoos. All of them have come since his mother died (when Darnell was 20 years old), and he says they have been a souce of therapy.  He had "Psalm 91" tattooed on his shoulder before she passed and every time a saying or symbol reminds him of her, he gets it written on his body.

  • McDonald has two pit bulls.

  • He loves to ride motorcycles, especially his Harley. And he collects exotic fish in his salt-water aquarium.

  • On April 30, 2004, after waiting seven years, Darnell got his first look at the Major Leagues. The Orioles called him up from the Ottawa Lynx when they put David Segui on the D.L. with an inflamed left knee.

    "C'mon I am thinking I'm on MTV "Punk'd" or something," McDonald said, describing the Ashton Kutcher-hosted TV series that is the Generation X version of "Candid Camera."

    "I am like 'What's going on? Where are the cameras?'" McDonald said. "It's a big time for me and my family. It's definitely been my dream from the start."

    Irony: The Orioles were in Cleveland, playing the Indians when McDonald got called up. It was the Cleveland Browns that had offered him an NFL tryout just two years before, an offer Darnell rejected.

  • After making his Major League debut (April 30, 2004), and collected his first hit, Darnell shaved off his corn-rows. Teammate Melvin Mora took his clippers and shaved the rookie's head after the April 30 game. "I always said if I make it to the Major Leagues, I'd take my hair all off," McDonald said. "For me it's something fresh, to change things up a little."

  • Darnell and wife Cynara, also from near Denver, Colorado, are going to celebrate the birth of their first child, a daughter, in May, 2005.

  • May 6, 2005: McDonald began a 15-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance under the guidelines of Major League Baseball's Minor League Drug Testing Program.

  • July 19, 2007: When McDonald was pulled from Triple-A Rochester's game, and Red Wings manager Stan Cliburn delivered the news of his callup, McDonald was understandably a tad emotional.

    McDonald said he put a call into his wife, Cynara, who had already determined the good news by watching the game on television. She said she saw the huge smile on McDonald's face in the dugout and figured he was on his way to Minnesota.

    "It's been a lot of ups and downs, but all for the good," McDonald said of his journey. "It made it feel better when I did get the news I was going to the big leagues. I worked hard for those three years, and I'm just happy to be here with the Twins."

  • Darnell's cousin, James McDonald, is a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates.



    TRANSACTION REPORT

  • June 1997: The Orioles chose McDonald in the first round, o out of Cherry Creek High School in Englewood, Colorado.

  • January 26, 2005: McDonald signed with the Indians organization.

  • June 23, 2007: The Twins acquired Darnell from the Nationals, allowing the Nats to keep the rights to P Levale Speigner.

  • December 2008: Darnell signed with the Reds organization.

  • December 2009: McDonald signed with the Red Sox organization.

  • July 4, 2012: The Yankees acquired Darnell off waivers from the Red Sox.

  • January 9, 2013: McDonald signed with the Cubs' organization.

 
 
BATTING:

  • McDonald may not have the natural instincts to play in the major leagues on a permanent basis, according to some baseball people. He has very good power due to his great strength. But he doesn't have any loft in his swing.
  • Darnell has superb instincts and athletic ability.

  • A pitcher in high school, he could fire his fastball at up to 95 mph.

  • He needs to increase his knowledge of the strike zone. And he could be more aggressive at bat. He has become more adept at handling a bat. But he still requires improved discipline at the plate

  • McDonald is a streaky hitter who has just been far too inconsistent. But in 2002, he started driving the ball much better and showing faster bat speed, too.
  • Darnell runs the 40-yards in 4.4 seconds
  • He has an exceptional first step—running back acceleration—explosive speed. He can be an exciting player on the bases.
  • As of the start of the 2014 season,McDonald's career Major League stats were: .250 batting average, 20 homeruns and 191 hits with 83 RBI's in 764 at-bats.
 
 
FIELDING:

  • McDonald has a strong arm and is a decent center fielder. His arm is good enough to play right, but better suited for center.
  • He takes good routes to the ball and has the explosive speed to cover loads of ground.
  • Several times, Darnell has had the ball pop out of his glove when he made a one-handed "catch." But he also makes a whole lot of diving catches.
 
RUNNING:
       POST-PLAYING CAREER POSITIONS


  • 2014: McDonald became a .234999656677246px;"='""'>baseball operations assistant for the Cubs.
  • .234999656677246px;"='""'>2015: Darnell was the Cubs mental skills program coordinator.
 
CAREER INJURY REPORT:

  • After the 1998 season, Darnell had shoulder surgery for an injury that was likely caused by playing football as a youth
  • 2000: Knee and shoulder injuries messed with him.

  • In May, 2003, McDonald was on the DL with a shoulder injury while with the Ottawa Lynx (IL-Orioles). A magnetic resonance imaging test didn't reveal any structural damage, but the Orioles arranged for an exploratory procedure after more conservative treatments failed to reduce the inflammation.  And in mid-June, 2003: Darnell had surgery on his right shoulder, performed by Dr. Lewis Yocum. That ended McDonald's season.

  • July 2008: Darnell was on the D.L. for the rest of the season.

  • March 2010: McDonald was sidelined for much of spring training with a strained oblique.

  • October 13, 2010: Darnell's injured right thumb -- a tron ulnar collateral ligament -- was repaired by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.

  • May 26-June 14, 2011: McDonald was on the D.L.

  • May 12-June 5, 2012: Darnell was on the D.L. with a right oblique strain.
  • April 30-May 7, 2013: McDonald was on the D.L. with a sprained left thumb.
 
 
 
Last Updated 12/18/2014 9:27:00 AM. All contents © 2000 by Player Profiles. All rights reserved.