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John McDonald on M&M: Red Sox ‘all about having fun and being prepared to play’

09.03.13 at 1:47 pm ET
By
John McDonald

John McDonald

New Red Sox utility infielder John McDonald joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday afternoon to talk about his return to New England.

McDonald, like Lou Merloni a former Providence College star, is a Connecticut native who has a home in Scituate. That made his acquisition by the Red Sox even more enjoyable, as he went from the struggling Phillies to the first-place team in the American League East.

McDonald, familiar to most Sox fans for his seven-year stint with the Blue Jays that ended in 2011, has been traded four times this year. He started the calendar year with the Diamondbacks and bounced to the Pirates, Indians and Phillies before this past weekend’s trade. In 15 major league seasons, he’s hitting .235/.274/.327.

Due to the acquaintances he’s made in his many travels, combined with the Red Sox’ turnover from last season, McDonald said it’s been a smooth transition to Boston.

“It makes it real easy to walk in and be a part of this group,” McDonald said. “I played with Stephen Drew last year, I played with Craig Breslow. I’ve played against a lot of these guys. It’s just a real familiar clubhouse. You get the sense right away that it’s all about having fun and being prepared to play and win a ballgame. That’s a great combination of things to have, and it’s not like that on every team I’ve played with. These guys like to get after it. It’s 1 o’clock right now, I’m standing outside of Fenway, and I get the feeling like most of the team’s probably already in there right now.”

McDonald, known more for his defense than his bat, is hitting just .111/186/.185 in 37 games this season.

“Sometimes when you’re getting a lot more playing time and feeling in rhythm and looking good, playing good, then you feel like, hey, somebody might pick me up. The fact that I got picked up without seeing a whole lot of the field the last month, I was pretty excited about that,” McDonald said. “It plays through your mind a little bit, but not right now. It’s just kind of all I’m thinking about now is winning.”

McDonald said he has a new appreciation for Dustin Pedroia now that he’s on the same team.

“He raised my level of play when I was playing against him. I wanted him to hit the ball to me so I could make a play on him,” McDonald said. “When we play against guys who play as hard as he does, in every pitch, you want to play up to that level, and you want to prove that you can play with him. Seeing that from when I was in Toronto playing against him, it’s a whole different feeling now. You really have to get up to his level now, because you’re on his team.”

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.

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