The news wasn’t great, but it could certainly have been worse, as the Blue Jays announced that they expect Josh Donaldson to miss 2-3 weeks of Spring Training.
It wasn’t exactly the way the Blue Jays had hoped to start Spring Training, as arguably their best position player had to miss the first full workout on Saturday. Donaldson felt a twinge in his right calf while running sprint drills, and the Blue Jays decided not to take any chances, having the injury evaluated right away.
On Sunday we learned that Donaldson is expected to miss the next 2-3 weeks nursing the injury, but the Blue Jays are still optimistic he’ll be healthy in time for Opening Day.
Donaldson battled a similar injury during the 2016 season, which likely slowed his production late in the season. The slugger hit just .222/.390/.389 in the season’s final month, with just 3 home runs and 7 RBI in 118 plate appearances. He still had a great year overall, but it was clear he wasn’t at full stretch, as he played through an injury while the team tried to lock down their playoff spot late in the season.
When asked on Sunday, Donaldson expressed frustration at having to deal with an early injury.
"“It is frustrating for sure, because I had a great offseason working out, preparing to play 162 games and hopefully some post-season games. So, yeah, there’s some frustration but, you know, that’s part of it and we have to learn, reassess and go from there.”"
Thankfully, he also seemed optimistic about the length of recovery time he’ll need.
"“A couple of weeks, three weeks at the most, that I feel like I’ll be ready to go”."
Donaldson has reportedly been using crutches in the clubhouse, but they are being used primarily to keep any unnecessary weight off of the injury. When he spoke to the media on Sunday, there were no sign of them, which had to be a welcome sight for reporters and fans alike.
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The 31 year old spent much of the offseason working with the Jays’ new High Performance and Medical Staff department to get his body ready for the 2017 season, and hopefully avoiding the nagging injuries that he’s dealt with in recent years. Unfortunately, that goal hasn’t gotten off to the strongest of starts, but the “Bringer of Rain” has plenty of time to get healthy, and being cautious is the smart play here, especially at this stage.
Donaldson was the 2015 MVP, and followed up with another strong campaign last season, hitting .284/.404/.549 with 37 home runs and 99 RBI in 155 games. The Blue Jays obviously need his presence in their lineup in order to compete to their full potential.
The Blue Jays play their first game of the season in Baltimore on April 3rd, so Donaldson should have plenty of time to heal and get himself into game shape prior to Opening Day.