ST. LOUIS -- Dioner Navarro’s speedy recovery after a home plate collision Wednesday prompted the Chicago Cubs to return catcher J.C. Boscan to Triple-A Iowa on Saturday and purchase the contract of outfielder Darnell McDonald.
“Navarro’s fine, so we didn’t need another catcher and we do need another position player,” manager Dale Sveum said. “Darnell has been swinging the bat really well down there so we will give him a shot and see what happens.”
McDonald, 34, has played parts of six seasons in the majors with the Orioles, Twins, Reds, Red Sox and Yankees. He originally was a first-round pick of Baltimore in the 1997 draft. He arrived in St. Louis shortly before Saturday night’s game.
McDonald had been at Iowa all season, and in 92 games, he had four home runs, 26 RBIs and a .236 average. This was the 13th season he had spent at the Triple-A level.
If he gets into a game, McDonald will become the 50th player to appear in a game for the Cubs this season.
Boscan had been recalled from Iowa on Thursday as protection while a decision was made on whether Navarro would have to go on the disabled list as a result of hurting his ankle in the collision with the Phillies’ Chase Utley. Boscan did not appear in either of the games he was on the roster.
Navarro had an MRI on Friday in Chicago that revealed his right ankle was only sprained, a result that Navarro, who returned to St. Louis on Saturday, said surprised him.
“It wasn’t as bad as we thought,” said Navarro, who was cleared to play after undergoing a series of drills. “We were all kind of surprised at the result. Now I’m here and ready to keep playing.
“All the drills we did I felt 100 percent. Everything I did was painless, and I was happy and kind of surprised at the same time that it went that way."
Navarro had to be taken from the field on a cart after the injury, and at the time, he thought he had broken his ankle.
“First of all, I didn’t want to get carted off,” he said. “I almost punched Ed [Halbur, assistant trainer] in the face because I wanted to limp off the field. But when the play first happened, I definitely thought I had broken my ankle. Then I started moving it around and it felt better.”
Sveum said that even though Navarro has been cleared to play, the team will be careful about when he will go back behind the plate.
“I was shocked to see him do those agility drills,” Sveum said. “We’re not going to get carried away. We’re going to let him get a little more rest. He took some swings, and everything’s fine.”
To make room for McDonald on the 40-man roster, the Cubs transferred outfielder Thomas Neal to the 60-day disabled list.