The Blue Jays opened their regular season against the Yankees on Thursday, and it was very clear that Josh Donaldson is not 100% healthy.
For Josh Donaldson and the Blue Jays, the number one injury concern over the last few years has been in his calves, which have given him a fair bit of trouble over the last few seasons. The issue persisted this spring, which caused him to cautiously ramp up activity during Grapefruit League play, but it was assumed he would be healthy and ready to go for the beginning of the regular season.
It appears that’s far from the case.
Donaldson’s calves may be feeling okay, but it was pretty apparent that his right shoulder isn’t in nearly as good of shape. He was tested a few times early in the game on balls he had to barehand and hurry to first base, and it was easy to dismiss those plays as hurried throws, and perhaps difficulty in getting a proper handle on the ball.
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However, when he failed to make the throw to first base on a couple of routine plays later in the game, the worries started to intensify for the fan base, and even for John Gibbons, who chatted with the “Bringer of Rain” after the top of the sixth inning to check on him.
We don’t know for certain how bad the issue is at this point, but the Blue Jays and Donaldson obviously felt he was healthy enough to start the season in the lineup. However, if his defensive play on Thursday is any indication, he’s going to need some time to either get right, or maybe he’ll even need a short stint on the disabled list.
He did look a little better at the plate, at least health wise during the game, and even stole a base in the bottom of the sixth, so his legs must be feeling okay. However, if his throwing shoulder isn’t up to par, he may be relegated to DH duties for awhile anyway.
We’ll wait to see if there’s an update from the team after the game or tomorrow, but if I’m going to guess I would assume that we’ll see Yangervis Solarte playing at third base in tomorrow’s game. As always, the Blue Jays will need to have their best hitter in the lineup in order to reach their potential as a team, and this isn’t exactly the way they had hoped things would start out. That said, it’s a long season, so if a few days of rest or a short disabled list stint is enough to get him right, it’s better to get it over with now than having the issue linger throughout the season.
We’ll update you if and when the Blue Jays address the issue.