PHOENIX -- With rehabbing shortstop Stephen Drew nearing his long-awaited return to the Majors, D-backs infielder John McDonald is prepping for a change in his role with the club by taking groundballs at third base.
"As a utility player, you don't want them to hesitate to use you whenever everybody is healthy and when someone goes down," McDonald said. "It's nice when you know your manager can use you in any situation, it keeps you on your toes."
The 37-year-old has played 102 career games at third base, but only two of those have come this season.
"I played a lot of third in Toronto, and some in Cleveland -- just another position, and it's fun to play," he said. "It has its different challenges, but I've been taking a lot of ground balls."
The majority of McDonald's playing time this season has come at shortstop, including Sunday when he started and batted eighth. There are various subtle differences between the two positions, but the utility player recognizes all of them.
"It's more of a reactionary position. At short you get to read the hops and make a play," he said. "The ball stays straighter at third while at shortstop there is more fade on the ball. You also have to throw the ball to first differently because the runner comes into play. I try to play in between at third so I eliminate that longer throw from the equation."