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McDonald back with Indians nearly 9 years later

Tuesday - 6/11/2013, 10:54pm  ET

Cleveland Indians John McDonald smiles in the dugout during the first inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, June 11, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. McDonald has rejoined the Cleveland Indians nearly nine years after playing his last game for his first major league team. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

AP Sports Writer

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- John McDonald is back with the Cleveland Indians nearly nine years after playing his last game for his first major league team.

McDonald made his first appearance for the Indians since Oct. 2, 2004, when he entered Tuesday night's game at Texas, taking over at third base for Mark Reynolds in the eighth inning. Cleveland reacquired the 38-year-old utility infielder the previous day.

"It was a lot of fun when I was here, and it's good to be wearing these colors again, and have a Wahoo on," McDonald said before the game. "You never know where baseball is going to take you. ... I didn't think I was going to get a chance to wear it again as a player."

With shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera on the disabled list with a right quadriceps strain, and expected to be out another two to four weeks, the Indians got McDonald from Pittsburgh in a trade Monday for a player to be named or cash considerations.

McDonald was a 12th-round pick by the Indians in the 1996 draft, and made his major league debut in 1999. He played for Toronto, Detroit, Arizona and Pittsburgh since leaving Cleveland after the 2004 season.

Pittsburgh recalled McDonald from a rehab assignment at Triple-A Indianapolis and activated him from the 15-day disabled list before sending him to Cleveland. The infielder had been on the DL since May 15 with lower back and right elbow inflammation. He played in 16 games for the Pirates, and was only 2 for 31 (.065). He has hit .237 in 970 career games before Tuesday.

McDonald said he hurt his back taking extra swings, but is healthy now. He said the arm feels good, too.

To make room on its 25-man roster, Cleveland optioned infielder Juan Diaz to Triple-A Columbus. The Indians initially made room on their 40-man roster Monday by moving right-hander Brett Myers to the 60-day disabled list. Myers has been on the DL since April 20 with tendinitis and a mild ligament sprain in his right elbow.

There are no current players who were also with the Indians when McDonald was last there. But Cleveland bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. was one of his teammates.

As for his role, McDonald can play second base, shortstop or third.

"My role hasn't necessarily changed over the course of my career," he said. "The type of player I am hasn't really changed since I was younger. ... Just play defense, have good at-bats and help the team win."

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