Donald impresses in big league debut

Donald impresses in big league debut

ST. PETERSBURG -- Jason Donald was told he was coming up to the big leagues when he was pulled from Triple-A Columbus' game Monday night. He didn't know he'd be in the Indians' lineup until teammate Trevor Crowe texted him with that information Tuesday morning.

At the time, Donald, one of four prospects the Indians acquired in last summer's Cliff Lee trade with the Phillies, was in the Columbus airport, waiting to board his flight to Tampa.

"I kind of did a little stretching," Donald said with a smile. "I started to get myself ready to go."

He landed at 10:30 a.m. ET and was at Tropicana Field in plenty of time to get ready for his Major League debut in the Tribe's 1:10 p.m. game against the Rays. And the stretching must have paid off, because Donald reached base safely in each of his first three plate appearances, finishing 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored in the Indians' 6-2 loss.

"Pretty good, huh?" said manager Manny Acta, who penciled Donald into the No. 9 spot of the lineup. "If he can do that every day, we're in heaven."

Donald's parents, Tom and Debbie, must have been in heaven. They were in attendance, having caught a red-eye flight from San Francisco. The Donalds live in Clovis, Calif., where Tom is the head baseball coach at Jason's alma mater, Buchanan High School.

"They're actually in the playoffs right now," Donald said. "He told the parents that if his son gets called up, he's sorry, but he was going to have to leave the team to watch me. It's a once-in-a-lifetime deal. It's comforting to know my parents are here experiencing this with me."

Donald said he saw his parents in the stands when he reached third base in the fifth.

"My dad's bald," he said. "I saw the light reflecting off my dad's head."

Donald's parents will make the trip to Cleveland, and they'll probably see plenty of their son after this debut. He's filling in for the injured Asdrubal Cabrera, who will likely have surgery Wednesday to repair a broken left forearm. Donald could become a regular at short, as he tries to build on a solid start at Columbus, where he was batting .287 (39-for-136) with 16 runs scored, six doubles, a triple, a homer and seven RBIs in 33 games. He missed significant time in the 2009 season because of left knee surgery and a lower back injury.

"I feel I've been able to accomplish some good things [this season]," Donald said. "The last week to week and a half, I haven't had that much success, in terms of results. But I felt my approach was right. ... It's a huge honor and huge thrill to be up here."