Red Sox designate McDonald for assignment

664798.jpg

Red Sox designate McDonald for assignment

SEATTLE -- Needing a roster spot to activate Saturday night starter Josh Beckett, the Red Sox designated outfielder Darnell McDonald for assignment, likely ending McDonald's time in the Red Sox organization.

McDonald was hitting just .214 with two homers and nine RBI with the Sox this season, his third with the team. He had appeared in 38 games, almost exactly half of the team's games this season.

A journeyman who came to the Sox after stops with three other organizations, McDonald made a good first impression with the Sox, coming off the bench to hit a game-tying two-run homer in the eighth inning against Texas on April 20, 2010, then delivered a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth.

That season, he hit .270 with nine homers and 34 RBI. He was designated for assignment that spring, but survived when Jacoby Ellsbury re-injured his broken ribs during batting practice at Tropicana Field, giving McDonald a reprieve.

Last year, McDonald struggled until the final six weeks of the season when he performed better.

The Sox could have returned pitcher Clayton Mortensen to Pawtucket, but with Ellsbury, Crawford, Scott Podsednik and Ryan Sweeney all due back from the disabled list in the coming weeks, McDonald's time was coming to an end either way.

When the Sox obtained Brent Lillibridge --a righthanded-hitting outfielder who fares well against lefties -- McDonald became especially redundant.

The Sox now have 10 days to trade, release or re-assign McDonald. If no deal can be made and he clears waivers, McDonald could still end up back at Pawtucket.

Drellich: Hanley Ramirez has to improve or Red Sox need to try others

Drellich: Hanley Ramirez has to improve or Red Sox need to try others

BOSTON — It doesn’t really matter what’s holding Hanley Ramirez back: his health, his desire to play at less-than-100 percent, neither, both. The Red Sox need him to produce more at the plate, as the designated hitter, or need to play someone who can produce more.

The suggestion of putting Ramirez on the disabled list so that his shoulders (and now, his left knee, where he was hit by a pitch Sunday) may heal is reasonable. If you can’t hit well — if you can’t even be in the lineup — why are you on the roster?

Ramirez was out for a second straight game Tuesday night. 

Flat-out benching Ramirez in favor of Chris Young or Sam Travis or both for a time makes sense too. Young will DH again Tuesday and Travis will start at first against Twins left-hander Hector Santiago. 

Try one, try all. The route to better production doesn’t matter. As long as the Sox get some, be it from Ramirez or somewhere else.

After Mitch Moreland, who’s playing with a fractured big toe on his left foot, homered and had another impactful night on Monday, Sox manager John Farrell made some comments that are hard to read as anything but a message to Ramirez.

“In his most recent stretch, he’s been able to get on top of some fastballs that have been at the top of the strike zone or above for some power obviously,” Farrell said. “But I think the way he’s gone about it given the physical condition he’s in, is a strong message to the remainder of this team.”

Tuesday is June 27. From May 27 on, Ramirez is hitting .202 with a .216 on-base percentage and .369 slugging percentage. 

In the final three months of the 2016 season, Ramirez hit .300 with a .379 OBP and .608 slugging percentage. That’s from the start of July through the end of the regular season. 

The potential for such a second-half surge is hard to ignore. The Sox need to figure out if Ramirez is healthy enough to give it to them, and if not, be willing to give someone else an extended look — be it with Ramirez on the bench or the DL.

Farrell suspended one game for last week's run-in with umpire

Farrell suspended one game for last week's run-in with umpire

BOSTON -- Red Sox manager John Farrell has been suspended one game because of Saturday night's scream-fest with umpire Bill Miller, when Farrell objected to a balk call made on Fernando Abad that led to an Angels run in the seventh inning.

Farrell is to serve the suspension on Tuesday night. He has also been fined.

Farrell and the umpire couldn't have been much closer to each other's face, and some contact was made.

"There was contact made, yes. I didn't bump him though," Farrell said a day later. "The tip of my finger touched his shirt."

Miller has ejected Farrell three times, more than any other umpire.

"No, honestly I didn't even know that, someone's brought to my attention that it's been the third time," Farrell said Sunday when asked if that history played in. "I don't have a tote board of who's done what and how many times