By Bob Elliott
NEW YORK _ Darwin Barney flew home to Portland, Oregon Saturday.
His season over at triple-A Oklahoma City he arrived home to his wife Linsday and three children under seven.
“At the end of the baseball year your brain kind of shuts things down,” Barney said looking back.
Around 8 p.m. Saturday night (Oregon time) his phone rang.
The Los Angeles Dodgers had dealt him to the Toronto Blue Jays, who were suddenly in need of an infielder after shortstop Troy Tulowitzki had collided with Kevin Pillar.
Time to turn back on his baseball brain.
That honey-do list can wait.
He was on a midnight JetBlue flight from Portland to New York, arriving at 8 o’clock Sunday morn and took a cab to Yankee Stadium. And Sunday evening he was on the Jays charter to Atlanta.
“Darwin Barney is outstanding defensively,” said Dioner Navarro, who shared the same clubhouse during the 2013 season with the Chicago Cubs and the visiting clubhouse at the big bandbox in the Bronx on Sunday.
Barney won the National League gold glove in 2012 with the Cubs.
“When it comes to fielding the ball he’s right up there with Ryan Goins,” said Navarro, who appeared in 59 games behind the plate backing up Welington Castillo. “I read the news we traded for him on my phone.
“He’ll help, he is excellent at turning a double plays. Every day he was doing something.”
Manager John Gibbons said that with Goins at shortstop and Chad Pennington at second, the Jays could pinch hit for either and then go to Barney.
“I not really sure how excited the family was -- the kids thought their father was home for the winter -- I haven’t had a chance to call there yet (today),” said Barney.
Barney was the Cubs every day second baseman for three seasons starting in 2011 and prior to last year’s the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline was shipped to the Dodgers.
“I’m not really sure what happened or how he wound up in triple-A for the whole season,” Navarro said. “But he’s an outstanding infielder.”
The weary traveller watched as Cliff Pennington played nine innings at second and Goins was at short in the Jays 5-0 loss to Masahiro Tanaka.
He played college ball for the Oregon State Beavers who made trips to the College World Series three consecutive years before he was selected in fourth round of the 2007 draft.
“For right now we’re down a middle infielder for at least two weeks,” general manager Alex Anthopoulos told reports. “He’s a great glove, a right-handed bat and good teammate as well.
“He’s going to fit into our clubhouse but our big thing is we want to stay as strong defensively up the middle as we can.”
With Edwin Encarnacion out of the lineup due to a middle finger injury on his right hand and Tulowitzki out the Jays lineup didn’t have the same imposing thump with Ben Revere, Josh Donaldson (4-for-18 with a homer and four RBIs in New York), Jose Bautista hitting third followed by Chris Colabello, Justin Smoak, Kevin Pillar, Goins, Pennington and Josh Thole.
Barney won’t replace Tulowitski’s glove but he’s more than capable in the field or if the Jays were to lose another middle infielder to injury.