Blue Jays return Donaldson, Bautista, Colabello to lineup


Exhale, Blue Jays fans. Josh Donaldson has completed his initial concussion protocol after undergoing further testing this morning, and barring any late setbacks, will be batting second today against the Texas Rangers. Right behind him will be Jose Bautista, returning to right field after a hamstring cramp forced him out of game one late. 

While Bautista’s return should be too surprising, there was hesitation surrounding Donaldson’s condition given the tests he would be required to pass. Whereas Bautista can play through some level of discomfort, returning from a concussion isn’t as simple as Pete Rose would have you think.

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This gives Toronto a distinct advantage in game two with the Rangers being forced to proceed without Adrian Beltre. The longtime star third baseman was forced out of game one early, and looked far from comfortable. He’ll be replaced at third base by Hanser Alberto, the 22-year old who posted a .222 batting average in 99 at-bats this season.

Chris Colabello will also join Bautista and Donaldson in the Jays lineup, where he’ll replace Justin Smoak after a disappointing performance. Smoak posted an 0-for-4 on Thursday with two strikeouts, leaving three runners on base. My worry with him continues to be the potential of empty at-bats, and I don’t have a great deal of trust in his ability to move runners late in the game. Regardless, he’ll be a valuable bench bat and defensive replacement in this game.

His replacement, Colabello, is coming off the .321 average season that we all predicted, right? His numbers against left-handed pitching have been impressive in 2015, with seven home runs and a .935 OPS, so the heart of the Jays lineup will be as strong as possible with Cole Hamels on the hill. Along with Smoak, expect to see Dioner Navarro available as a pinch-hitter with Dalton Pompey the primary pinch-running threat late in the game.

Next: Game 2 ALDS Preview: Let it Stro!

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