SEATTLE — The departure of Darnell McDonald, while not unexpected, was disappointing for the players. D-Mac was one of the more popular players in the clubhouse and always had an upbeat attitude.
"It's part of the game but you never really get used to it," Cody Ross said. "Hopefully he gets a chance with another team."
McDonald was not at Safeco Field this afternoon. Bobby Valentine said it was a tough move to make.
"Really tough. Darnell is one of those guys you just love having around. He helped us win some games this year with some big plays, defensively and offensively," the manager said. "One of the guys in the clubhouse that's really well respected.
"It's a game of numbers and it seemed with all the outfielders who were eventually going to come back, his number was eventually going to be pulled and we decided today would be the day."
The positional versatility of Brent Lillibridge allows the Red Sox to go with a three-man bench.
"That's what we're banking on," Valentine said. "We haven't seen him that much to make the full determination on that. The fact that he is more versatile, it gives us the opportunity. And he hits from the right side and hit lefthanders pretty well last year."
• Josh Beckett comes off the DL to start Saturday night. Valentine was uncertain about his pitch count given he hasn't pitched since June 11.
"We had that conversation this afternoon on the coaching side. He hasn't pitched since the 11th, that's either the good news or bad news, right?" Valentine said. "It either means he's really rested and he's got a lot in him, or he's not used to it so we've got to be careful. We'll see how the game progresses."
• Valentine is looking to Alfredo Aceves and Vicente Padilla in the game. They last pitched on Tuesday.
Aceves has told Valentine he wants the work, even if not in save situations.
"He wants to pitch, which is a good thing. I think the more he pitches, the better he is,
Valentine said. "He was definitely pitching yesterday until we had what we had."
Valentine said Aceves "gets it" when it comes to being a closer and is growing in his understanding of the role.
"I'm very comfortable with him with the ball at the end of the game," Valentine said. "Absolutely."
• The All-Star rosters will be announced on Sunday. David Ortiz is sure to be the designated hitter for the American League, having taken a huge lead in the fan voting.
But Big Papi could be the lone Red Sox representative in Kansas City July 10. The only other player who merits consideration is catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. But Joe Mauer (Twins), Mike Napoli (Rangers) and Matt Wieters (Orioles) are better-established players at that position.
Other players could be asked to join the team as injury replacements.
The Red Sox have had at least six All-Stars in the last five years and at least three for the last 10 seasons. The team hasn’t had just one representative since 2001, when Manny Ramirez was the only All-Star from a team that finished 82-79.