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McDonald's ready for the next chapter

By Vickie Fulkerson

Publication: The Day

Published February 08. 2014 4:00AM
Dana Jensen/The Day
A trio of former UConn-Avery Point standouts, from left, Angels infielder John McDonald, Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker and Tigers outfielder Rajai Davis, pose for a photo Friday night prior to the Connecticut Sports Foundation dinner at the Mohegan Sun.

Mohegan - Before his children go to bed every night, John McDonald sings with them: "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."

His son, 3-year-old Anthony, has changed his mantra to "root, root, root for the Angels," in accordance with his dad's recent signing with the California team. His daughter, however, 5-year-old Jackie, refuses to budge from using the words "Red Sox" in the song.

"Last year was great in so many ways, to finish the year with a championship," said McDonald, an East Lyme native, who was a member of the Boston Red Sox when they won the World Series in 2013. "But it's over.

"The Angels gave me an opportunity for a job and I'm excited about it."

McDonald, who lives in Scituate, Mass., was traded from the Philadelphia Phillies to the Red Sox on Aug. 31. He played in just six games for Boston, but provided leadership, including working with rising star Xander Bogaerts on his infield mechanics.

The Series win was a dream come true for the 39-year-old veteran, whose children got to experience the locker room celebration.

Red Sox management then asked McDonald if he would think about retiring on his own terms, he said. He replied that his terms would be when all 30 major league teams no longer thought he was worthy to play baseball.

On Friday, McDonald appeared at the Connecticut Sports Foundation Against Cancer's 27th Annual Celebrity Dinner and Memorabilia Auction at Mohegan Sun.

He leaves soon for spring training in Tempe, Ariz., as a member of the Angels organization. Previously unsure of the future, McDonald agreed to a minor league deal on Jan. 16 that will pay him $850,000 if he makes the major league roster.

"You're always a little nervous," said McDonald, who hopes to begin his 16th season in the majors. "But I trust in my preparation. You sleep good at night when you're prepared.

"They have Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Jered Weaver, Josh Hamilton and I'm forgetting guys, a tremendous amount of talent. There's so much talent. Absolutely, I was happy for the opportunity."

v.fulkerson@theday.com

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