McDonald gets hot in chilly Chi-Town

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McDonald gets hot in chilly Chi-Town

CHICAGO -- On a bitterly cold night, with temperatures hovering near freezing at U.S. Cellular Field, no one needed to get hotter more than Darnell McDonald.

McDonald came into Friday's game with a batting average of .100, and his playing time had been reduced ever since the acquisition of Marlon Byrd.

But getting into the lineup against lefty John Danks, McDonald made the most of his opportunity. With the bases full in the sixth inning, he laced a three-run double to left. Then, in his final at-bat in the ninth, he added a solo homer, giving him a career-best four RBI.

"It's definitely better than going 0-for,'' said McDonald. "It's a crazy game. You go from feeling so good in spring training and starting the season off to not feeling good up there at the plate. I had two at-bats tonight where I didn't feel good and I just told myself, 'Just simplify things. Just go up there and try to see the ball, hit the ball and just go back to Little League.

"You start thinking about too many things and it's tough to hit that way.''

As an extra outfielder, McDonald has gone from regular, almost daily at-bats in spring training to playing only a couple of times per weeks. It's never an easy adjustment.

"It's tough,''acknowledged McDonald. "But that's my role, so I try to do the best I can to prepare myself for my at-bats. I think the toughest part is you have to sleep on those (unsuccessful) at-bats and wait until your next go-around. But hitting is contagious and guys have been swinging the bats really well and I was able to get in there and get a couple of knocks tonight.''

In the sixth, with three baserunners aboard, McDonald abandoned his approach to take the perfect swing and instead focused on being aggressive.

"I was able to put the barrell on the baseball,'' he said.

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL


Tom Brady delivered a video message last week at the funeral of Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken, a Maine native and former UConn track athlete killed in Somalia on May 5.

Bill Speros of The Boston Herald, in a column this Memorial Day weekend, wrote about Milliken and Brady's message.   

Milliken ran track at Cheverus High School in Falmouth, Maine, and at UConn, where he graduated in 2001. Milliken lived in Virginia Beach, Va., with his wife, Erin, and two children.  He other Navy SEALs participated in a training exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011 where he met and posed for pictures with Brady.

Speros wrote that at Milliken’s funeral in Virginia Beach, Va., Brady's video offered condolences and thanked Milliken’s family for its sacrifice and spoke of how Milliken was considered a “glue guy” by UConn track coach Greg Roy.

Milliken had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning four Bronze Star Medals and was based in Virginia since 2004.  He was killed in a nighttime firefight with Al-Shabaab militants near Barij, about 40 miles from the Somali capital of Mogadishu. He was 38.

The Pentagon said Milliken was the first American serviceman killed in combat in Somalia since the "Black Hawk Down" battle that killed 18 Americans in 1993. 

In a statement to the Herald, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: “It was an honor to host Kyle and his team for an exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011. It gave new meaning to the stadium being known as home of the Patriots. We were deeply saddened to hear of Kyle’s death earlier this month.

“As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by patriots like Kyle and so many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect our rights as Americans. Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt appreciation are extended to the Milliken family and the many families who will be remembering lives lost this Memorial Day weekend.”