McDonald makes roster, contemplates final season

McDonald makes roster, contemplates final season

MESA, Ariz. -- John McDonald was added to the Angels' 40-man roster on Tuesday, officially giving him the utility-infield spot he looked primed for all Spring Training, and his 5-year-old daughter wasn't sure how to handle it.

"She wants Daddy to come home," McDonald said of Jackie, who likes to stress that she's actually 5 1/2 years old. "She said, 'I'm happy for you, Daddy -- sad for me.'"

McDonald is 39 years old now, entering his 16th season, "and my kids are going to pull me back home a little bit more."

"This could be my last year," said McDonald, who had a $100,000 retention bonus that basically forced the Angels to make a decision by Tuesday. "I'm not going to have a press conference to announce it. … I plan on having a great year this year. You never know what can happen. I don't like putting a timetable on anything. I'm 39. I'm not foolish. There is only so long you can play."

McDonald knows he'll play this year, though. He joined the Angels on a Minor League contract in mid-January, entered camp in a two-man battle with Andrew Romine -- now with the Tigers -- for the backup infield spot. Grant Green emerged as a dark-horse candidate, but ultimately McDonald won the job he's held for almost his entire Major League career.

His glove has always been there, but his .321 Cactus League batting average certainly didn't hurt.

"He showed us this week that he's a piece that can definitely help us on the defensive side," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's a magician with the glove. He's really showed well at shortstop recently, and that's something to put a lot of weight on."

McDonald, originally a 12th-round Draft pick by the Indians in 1996, played six years in Cleveland, and a brief stint in Detroit was followed by another six years in Toronto, then 1 1/2 seasons in Arizona before a hectic, live-out-of-your suitcase 2013 season that saw him play for the Pirates, Indians, Phillies and Red Sox -- and collect three playoff shares.

McDonald has averaged 171 plate appearances per season -- regulars get somewhere around 700 -- and batted .235/.274/.327 for his career, but his defense and versatility always led to a job. This was the first time McDonald has entered camp on a Minor League contract.

He feels like he's been fighting all his life, though.

"You come to camp and want an opportunity to show you can still play," McDonald said. "That feeling never gets old. I feel like managers have had to tell me every year that I've made the team. I feel like walking out of that office is always rewarding."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.