GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Though it was a move that seemed inevitable this spring, the parting of ways between the D-backs and infielder John McDonald was not an easy one.
The 38-year-old was dealt to the Pirates on Wednesday for a player to be named or cash considerations. With the D-backs planning to use a combination of Cliff Pennington and Willie Bloomquist at shortstop, and also having Eric Hinske and Eric Chavez as infielders on the bench, there was simply no room for McDonald.
Given the respect they had for McDonald, the D-backs tried to find a trade partner closer to McDonald's home in Massachusetts.
"It's definitely bittersweet," McDonald said. "I'm excited to go to that organization, but being here the last year and a half has been awesome. It's hard to leave teammates, especially when they're such good people."
The D-backs did not look forward to saying goodbye either.
"He's the ultimate professional," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "Great leadership on and off the field. 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."
McDonald was acquired, along with Aaron Hill, from the Blue Jays in August 2011 in a deal that sent second baseman Kelly Johnson to Toronto.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.