BRADENTON, Fla. -- John McDonald, the newest Pirate, wasn't yet in camp on Thursday. Safe to say, the veteran's reputation preceded him.
"He's a good teammate. Good attitude, hard worker," said A.J. Burnett, a teammate of McDonald's with the 2006-08 Toronto Blue Jays. "He brings a great glove to have around. My time with Johnny was good. He's a veteran guy who has been around both leagues, and brings a lot to the table."
Burnett's memories of the 14-year veteran may be a little faded, so it is notewrothy that his most recent manager described him in similar terms.
In fact, considering the D-backs spent much of the offseason chasing their manager's vision of a crew of hard-edged gamers, it was quite difficult for Kirk Gibson to see McDonald become the victim of infielder overcrowding.
Calling McDonald "the ultimate professional," Gibson said that if the Bucs were seeking a clubhouse mentor, they got the right man.
"Great leadership on and off the field," Gibson told MLB.com of the 38-year-old. "Really helped drive us to a different place as a team. Contributed a ton. I told him, 'I don't know how much longer you're going to play, but you have a great gift for the game and I know you have children, but please consider staying in the game after you're done playing.' I think he just has a great gift."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less