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John McDonald

John McDonald

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John McDonald

Position(s):
2B, SS, 3B, DH, LF, OF
Born:
September 24, 1974
Bats:
Right
Throws:
Right
Height:
5' 10"
Weight:
175 lbs
Major League Debut:
7-04-1999 with CLE

John Joseph McDonald (born September 24, 1974 in New London, Connecticut) is an American professional baseball infielder with the Arizona Diamondbacks of Major League Baseball. Primarily employed as a shortstop, he is a very capable utility infielder, with the ability to also play second base, third base and (in 2009 and 2010) left field. Up to the end of the 2010 season, he had a career fielding percentage of .973.

High School & College

McDonald graduated from East Lyme High School in East Lyme, Connecticut. When he was not drafted by any major league baseball team in his initial draft year, he attended University of Connecticut Avery Point Campus,[1] where he was NJCAA Division II All-American in 1994 as shortstop. He went on to play at Providence College in 1995 and 1996 on a partial scholarship[1], earning All-New England honors as a member of one of the last baseball teams before the college discontinued its baseball program. After he was drafted in 1996, he left Providence to pursue a career in professional baseball although he was still several courses short of earning a degree.

Minor League Career

McDonald was drafted in the 12th round of the 1996 Major League Baseball Draft (363rd overall) by the Cleveland Indians, and entered the Indians' minor league system. In 1996, he played for the Watertown Indians of the Single A New York-Pennsylvania League, then moved to the Kinston Indians of the Single A Carolina League in 1997.[2] In 1998, he was invited to the Indians' spring training camp, and moved up to the Akron Aeros of the Double A Eastern League, where his defensive plays at shortstop made him a popular player with the fans.[1] McDonald split 1999 between Akron and the Buffalo Bisons of the Triple A International League and was also called up to the major leagues for a short stint. McDonald also appeared in a number of games for the Indians in 2000 and 2001, spending the remainder of each season in Buffalo.

Cleveland Indians (1999–2004)

McDonald made his major league debut for Cleveland on July 4, 1999, and appeared in 18 games for the Indians that season. He appeared in 9 games for the Indians in 2000, another 17 games in 2001, and in 2002, he made his move to the Indians' roster, appearing in 93 games. The Indians, taking advantage of McDonald's popularity in Akron, used McDonald in promotions there to draw Aeros fans to Cleveland.[1]

After three full seasons with the Indians, McDonald was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays on December 2, 2004, in exchange for Tom Mastny. In his six full and partial seasons with Cleveland, McDonald batted .231, with a fielding average of .971.[2]

Toronto Blue Jays (2005-2011)

2005-2007

John McDonaldDuring the first part of the 2005 season with the Blue Jays, McDonald was primarily a backup for Russ Adams at shortstop, and recorded a .290 batting average in 37 games.

He was traded to the Detroit Tigers on July 22 for future considerations. During the remainder of the season with Detroit, McDonald hit .260 with a .308 on-base percentage in 31 games.

On November 10, 2005, the Tigers sent him back to the Toronto Blue Jays for cash considerations, in effect completing the earlier trade by trading John McDonald for himself. The only other player to be traded for "himself" in this manner was Harry Chiti in 1962.[3]

During the 2006 season, McDonald was the starting shortstop for the Toronto Blue Jays. On July 25, 2006, he hit his first career grand slam in a game against the Seattle Mariners and also drove a career high five runs. Although McDonald showed good defensive skills, his offensive hitting skills were weak—he had a .223 batting average, a .271 slugging percentage and a .308 on-base percentage during the 2006 season.

In an attempt to inject some stronger hitting into the shortstop position, the Blue Jays obtained Royce Clayton in the off-season, and McDonald and Clayton started the 2007 season sharing shortstop duties. McDonald also started some games at third base as Troy Glaus's backup. Later in the season, after demonstrating his strong defensive abilities, McDonald replaced Clayton as the everyday starting shortstop, and Clayton was subsequently released. McDonald took the opportunity as starting shortstop to make some exceptional defensive plays (often in conjunction with fellow infielders Aaron Hill and Lyle Overbay). He was considered by some baseball writers to be a Gold Glove contender after leading AL shortstops with a .986 in fielding percentage. (Orlando Cabrera was subsequently chosen.) Due in large part to his defensive abilities, McDonald received a 2-year contract extension from the Blue Jays reportedly worth $3.8 million.

In a poll of viewers on Rogers Sportsnet, McDonald was voted the most popular Blue Jay, narrowly edging out Cy Young-winning pitcher Roy Halladay.

2008-2011

Despite his contract extension, McDonald again started another season as the back-up shortstop due to the Blue Jays' off-season acquisition of all-star shortstop David Eckstein. However, when Eckstein was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks on August 31, McDonald once again became the starting shortstop.[citation needed]

At the start of the 2009 season, McDonald again found himself the back-up shortstop, this time behind newly acquired Marco Scutaro. However, McDonald once again became the starting shortstop when Scutaro was injured late in the season.[citation needed]

McDonald had a batting average of .258 in 2009. His slugging percentage of .271, on-base percentage of .384 and 4 home runs were career highs.

On November 25, the Blue Jays re-signed McDonald to a 2-year $3-million dollar contract.

In the 2010 season, McDonald again began as the back-up shortstop, this time behind Yunel Escobar. McDonald missed much of the month of June to spend time with his ailing father,[4] who would eventually pass away. McDonald returned to the lineup on June 20, Father's Day, hitting a home run in his first at-bat.[5] McDonald hit a career high 6 home runs, passing his previous season high of 4.

Jack McDonald and Nick MarkakisMcDonald started the season as a non-starting utility bench player, able to enter the game as a pinch runner, or as a replacement infielder or left fielder. He also occasionally started as an infielder when the manager wants to give the regular starting player a day off. (For example, on July 1, he started at second base in order to give Aaron Hill a day off, but when shortstop Yunel Escobar left the game in the first inning after being hit by a pitch, McDonald moved to shortstop.)[6]

On April 22, McDonald came into a game against the Tampa Bay Rays to replace an injured Jayson Nix, and hit his first career walkoff home run, a 2-run homer in the 11th inning.[7]

On May 28, McDonald was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right groin. Mike McCoy was called up to take his place.[8] McDonald was activated from the DL on June 17.[9]

Nicknames

While in Toronto, McDonald was popularly known in the media and by Blue Jays fans as "Johnny Mac".[1] Due to some of his outstanding defensive plays, local media also dubbed him "Magic Man" (the title of a popular 1976 hit song by Canadian band Heart), and "The Prime Minister of Defence" (a word play on the similarly named first prime minister of Canada, John A. Macdonald).[10]

Arizona Diamondbacks (2011-present)

On August 23, McDonald, along with teammate Aaron Hill, was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Kelly Johnson.[11]

Personal Life

McDonald met his wife-to-be, Maura, in a freshman English class at Providence College in 1995. They have two children, Jacqueline and Anthony.[1]

When McDonald left Providence College in 1996, he was only six courses shy of earning his degree. Encouraged by his wife to complete his studies while still playing baseball, he enrolled in Providence College School of Continuing Education in 2006, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies in 2010. He was able to accept his degree from the college president on July 13, 2010, during the annual break for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.[12]

References

   1. a b c d e f Zwolinksi, Mark (2011-07-06). "Johnny Mac: Jays' Other All-Star" (in English). Toronto Star (Toronto: Torstar): p. S1. http://www.thestar.com/sports/baseball/mlb/bluejays/article/1020094--johnny-mac-jays-other-all-star.
   2. a b >"John McDonald". Baseball-reference.com. 2011-07-17. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/mcdonjo03.shtml. Retrieved 2011-07-17.
   3. Nicholson-Smith, Ben (2010-08-02). "John McDonald Rumors: Life After the Trade". MLB Trade Rumors. http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/john_mcdonald/. Retrieved 2011-07-17.
   4. http://tsn.ca/mlb/teams/story/?id=324255&hubname=mlb-blue_jays
   5. http://scores.espn.go.com/mlb/boxscore?gameId=300620114&teams=san-francisco-giants-vs-toronto-blue-jays
   6. John Lott (2011-007-01). "Crimson Jays lose a Heartbreaker". National Post. http://sports.nationalpost.com/2011/07/01/crimson-jays-lose-a-heartbreaker/. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
   7. "McDonald Hits Two-Run Homerun as Blue Jays Down Rays". The Sports Network. 2011-04-22. http://www.tsn.ca/mlb/story/?id=363295. Retrieved 2011-04-22.
   8. "Jays place McDonald on DL". World News & Observer. 2011-05-28. http://article.wn.com/view/2011/05/28/Jays_place_McDonald_on_DL_y/. Retrieved 2011-05-28.
   9.  "http://www.bluejaysandmore.com/2011/06/john-mcdonaldreturns-to-lineup.html". The Blue Jays and More. 2011-06-17.
  10. "2009 MLB Previews: AL East". Total Pro Sports. 2009-03-12. http://www.totalprosports.com/2009/03/12/2009-mlb-previews-al-east/. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
  11. http://content.usatoday.com/communities/dailypitch/post/2011/08/diamondbacks-trade-blue-jays/1
  12. "Major League Baseball Player John McDonald Receives Degree from SCE". Providence College. 2010-07-19. http://www.providence.edu/About+PC/College+News/Press+Releases/John+McDonald+SCE.htm. Retrieved 2010-07-21.

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Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, John McDonald, Toronto Blue Jays

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