Now, as a member of the Yankees, those days are over. Due to the organization's strict guidelines on hair, New York shortstop Derek Jeter recommended McDonald shed the locks.
That's one of many changes in a whirlwind week for McDonald, who was designated for assignment last Saturday by the Red Sox and claimed off waivers by the Yankees on Wednesday.
"It's strange," McDonald said. "It's just good to be back playing baseball. [It's been] a tough couple days sitting at home [and] not being able to go to the yard. But you know if you got to go somewhere, this is not a bad place to come. I'm happy to be here, be a part of this organization."
But McDonald was still surprised when the Red Sox released him. While he realized the writing may be on the wall –– when Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury return from the disabled list –– he expected his tenure in Boston to last a few more weeks.
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine thought otherwise, electing to discharge McDonald with the surplus of outfielders on the horizon. Despite the decision, McDonald doesn't hold any grudges.
"It was just out of the blue –– obviously we had some guys that were coming back over there, crowded outfield," he said. "You know it's the nature of the business. I've been in this game a long time and I understand the business side of it, it's always, it's a tough thing to deal with."
McDonald wasn't slated to start Friday's game against the Red Sox. Although he isn't playing just yet, the outfielder's familiarity with Boston's signs forced Valentine to switch everything up.
"Darnell was one of the guys that knew the signs when he was here, so we're going to change them," Valentine said.
In 38 games for the Red Sox this season, McDonald belted two homers and drove in nine runs to go along with a .214 batting average.