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McDonald attended Cherry Creek High School, whose alumni include Josh Bard, David Aardsma, Brad Lidge and Donzell McDonald, his older brother. Darnell never attended college (he was signed out of high school), although he considered attending the University of Texas to play both baseball and football.
In 1997, McDonald was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles 26th overall in the first round in the amateur entry draft. He began his professional career in 1998. In 1998, McDonald started off with Single-A Frederick, but after only four games and two stolen bases there, he moved to Single-A Delmarva. In 134 games there, he stole 35 bases and hit .261. His 35 stolen bases were a professional career high for him. He stayed with Single-A Frederick for the entire 1999 season, and found moderate success there. In 130 games, he stole 26 bases and hit .266. He earned a promotion to Double-A Bowie in 2000, and his first year a step higher didn't fare him well. He hit .242 in 116 games, and only stole 11 bases.
In 2001, McDonald played in Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Rochester. His statistics greatly improved while with Double-A Bowie that year, leading to a promotion. Again, the promotion didn't make his career stats any better, as he hit on .238 and stole only 13 bases in 104 games with Rochester. He started with Bowie again in 2002, hit .292 and stole 9 bases in 37 games with them. This also earned him a promotion to Rochester, where he fared better. He hit .289 with Rochester in 2002, as compared to the .238 he hit one year before. In 2007, due to his trade to the Minnesota Twins, he was re-united with the Red Wings.
He spent his entire 2003 season with the Ottawa Lynx, who were the "new" Orioles Triple-A team. He only played 40 games that year, and hit .296. McDonald's 2004 season was subpar, he hit only .234 with Ottawa. It led to a promotion to the Baltimore Orioles, and while with them, McDonald hit .156 in 32 at bats (17 games).
On January 26, 2005, McDonald was signed by the Cleveland Indians to a minor league contract. He played 26 games with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, and then went over to the Devil Rays Triple-A team, the Durham Bulls.
On 5 June 2005, McDonald was suspended for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
On June 24, 2007, McDonald was sent to the Minnesota Twins by the Washington Nationals in order for the Nationals to keep Rule 5 draft pick Levale Speigner. Speigner was then outrighted to Triple A Columbus by the Nationals.
On July 20, 2007, McDonald was called up to the Twins when Michael Cuddyer was placed on the disabled list. He became a free agent at the end of the 2008 season and signed with the Cincinnati Reds in December.
On April 6, 2009, he made the opening day roster for the Cincinnati Reds. On August 30, 2009, he hit his first major league home run against the Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.
In 2010, he joined the Boston Red Sox organization. In April, McDonald's contract was purchased by the major-league club from Triple-A Pawtucket after Jacoby Ellsbury went on the disabled list. On April 20, 2010, McDonald pinch hit in the bottom of the 8th inning with the Red Sox against the Texas Rangers, and hit a game tying home run. He became the 9th player to hit a home run for the Red Sox in his first Red Sox at bat. He was only the third person ever to pinch hit for the Red Sox and have his first hit be a home run. His home run over the Green Monster tied the game at 6-6 in the eighth, and in the bottom of the ninth, he added a game-winning hit off the Green Monster to lead the Red Sox to a walk-off win against the Rangers, 7–6. He also became the first ever member of the Red Sox to collect a game-ending RBI in his debut with the club, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He also threw out a runner and hit his second home run as a Red Sox in only his second game.
Prior to joining Boston, McDonald had two home runs in 147 major league at-bats.
Honors and awardsEdit
- In 1996, he was a First Team High School All-American.
- In 1997, he was a First Team High School All-American and the Baseball America High School Player of the Year.
- In 2008, McDonald was selected to represent the International League in the Triple-A All-Star Game.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or The Baseball Cube
|DATE OF BIRTH||November 17, 1978|
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