McDonald continues to serve

TORONTO -- Darnell McDonald may not be an All-Star, but he’s been a tremendous asset for the Boston Red Sox this season.

With the All-Star break here, McDonald ended the first half of the season the same way he started his Sox career when he was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on April 20 -- with a game-changing home run.

After outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron were placed on the disabled list in April, the Red Sox summoned McDonald and Josh Reddick from the PawSox. McDonald was quickly thrust into the lineup as a late-inning pinch-hitter and provided a two-run, game-tying home run against the Rangers before collecting a two-out walk-off single to win the game in the ninth inning.

He’s remained with the club ever since, and on Sunday he belted a two-run homer to help Boston to a 3-2 victory.

“Every day is special for me, but man, it’s been a great ride,” he said. “By no means am I satisfied with what I’ve done. I’m definitely happy to be able to come up here and contribute and help the team win. There are still things to come and things I can work on to become a better player at this level.”

“Sometimes you come up and try to do too much,” he added. “It definitely helped getting off to a good start. The biggest things are the opportunities and I’ve been given a lot of opportunities. Every day I want to take advantage of those opportunities. The guys around me have made me feel comfortable and have made me feel a part of this team.”

Red Sox manager Terry Francona knows exactly how important McDonald’s contributions have been this season. McDonald is hitting .271 with six homers and 24 RBIs.

“He’s been a valuable member of what we’re doing,” Francona said. “When he first got here, I think he was trying to show he belonged in the big leagues, and now he knows he belongs. He’s valuable to our team and he’s taken it and ran with it. He’s been tremendous.”