Darnell McDonald, who was placed on the 15-day DL May 13 with a strained right oblique, was back in the clubhouse after completing his third rehab assignment at Pawtucket Monday. He played all nine innings in center field and went 0 for 3 and was hit by a pitch in a 6-4 loss to Norfolk.
“Today he said he could play, but he’s not 100 percent,’’ Valentine said. “I told him I’d like him to be 100 percent. He’s on the disabled list, so by the time he comes back, we’d like to have a player who is capable to go full-bore physically.’’
Valentine said McDonald would likely return to Pawtucket for another rehab start.
From those lines in today's Sox Globe notes article, one might conclude that Darnell will regain his spot on the team when he's 100% ready to play.
Is that actually the case? And if so, why? Or is Bobby's insistence that he be "100%" code for a delay tactic or some other indication that Darnell isn't going to be reinstated so soon.
Thus far in 2012, his numbers in 56 at bats -- .179/.277/.357 -- look a lot like his early numbers from last year. Despite barely hitting his wife's weight early on in 2011, Tito gave him regular playing time against lefties and thereby turned Josh Reddick into a platoon player. Perhaps in part due to an excellent showing in Spring Training, Bobby has also given Darnell some early time against lefties, though that time had dwindled before Darnell's recent "injury."
If no one in the existing outfielder group gets hurt (and that seems like a cruel joke given the MASH unit this team has been thus far), who would go if they brought Darnell back? Sending Nava down in favor of Darnell seems unthinkable given Nava's production and insertion into the lead off spot last night. And despite all the dirt dog jokes, Podsednik has been quietly productive thus far. His sample size is painfully small, but if nothing else, I'd like to see them ride the hot hand and his defense looks good. It's harder to mount an argument for Marlon Byrd, and maybe he's the answer, but I still like his all around game more than Darnell's.
In sum, what are they going to do when Darnell is ready to play and what should they do?