Darren Ford’s first season with the Somerset Patriots is over.
The 31-year-old center fielder from Vineland suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, during the Patriots’ 2-0 win over the Sugar Land Skeeters on Tuesday, the club announced.
In 19 games in the independent Atlantic League, Ford hit .243 (16 for 61) with one home run, 11 runs scored and 10 RBIs. He also stole eight bases on nine tries.
Ford signed with the Patriots after a 12-year-career in MLB-affiliated minor league baseball.
He also appeared in 33 games with the San Francisco Giants over the 2010-11 seasons. He was not on the Giants’ 2010 postseason roster but received a World Series championship ring.
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Most of the first 12 years of his career were spent in the farm systems of Milwaukee, San Francisco, Seattle and Pittsburgh.
In 2016, he played in the Giants’ system. He batted .250 in 49 games with Sacramento of the triple-A Pacific Coast League and .238 in 70 games with Richmond of the double-A Eastern League.
He has a career batting average of .264 in affiliated minor leagues with 58 home runs, 48 triples, 167 doubles, 727 runs scored and 450 stolen bases on 591 attempts.
“Darren should provide a lot of excitement for our team and our fans this year,” Somerset manager Brett Jodie told the team’s website after Ford signed. “He is a solid defender in the outfield, can cover some ground and is also a tremendous base runner and base stealer. ... He will be a huge part of our team this season.”
Ford began his professional career in 2005 with Helena of the rookie-level Pioneer League as the Brewers’ 18th-round draft choice.
He appeared in seven games in 2010 with the Giants. He made his major-league debut Sept. 1, 2010. He entered a game against Colorado as a pinch-runner and scored the winning run in a 2-1 victory.
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A former standout baseball and football player at Vineland High School, Ford started the 2011 season in the minors but was promoted to the Giants on April 26. He earned his first major league hit four days later, a single off Washington reliever Tyler Clippard.
Ford played in 26 games with the Giants that season, batting .286 (4 for 14) with five stolen bases. On May 22 that year, the speedster sprained his ankle when he scored the winning run in a 5-4 win over the Oakland Athletics.
He was placed on the disabled list later that week and did not return until that September.
After that season, he never returned to the majors.
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned through the years, it’s that you have to stay humble, “ Ford told The Press in a 2015 interview. “You can’t get discouraged playing this game. You have to stay on an even keel and stay focused.”