It didn’t take long for Josh Donaldson to return to the disabled list but, no, the former Toronto Blue Jays’ star third baseman hasn’t experienced an injury setback.
Being placed on the 10-day DL allows the Cleveland Indians newcomer to begin a rehab assignment Monday afternoon with the triple-A Columbus Clippers.
Starting at third and batting second against the visiting Toledo Mud Hens, Donaldson walked and lined out before belting a grand slam off Australian right-hander Warwick Saupold with two out in the fourth inning to extend Columbus’ lead to 5-0.
Monday’s move, retroactive to Saturday, eliminates any possibility of Donaldson stepping to the plate at Rogers Centre this Thursday when the Indians open a four-game series against the Blue Jays.
Toronto activated Donaldson to deal the three-time all-star ahead of Friday’s midnight ET trade deadline along with cash for a player to be named later after the pending free agent played only 36 games this season due to a nagging left calf injury.
Watch Donaldson’s introductory news conference:
Cleveland manager Terry said Donaldson will work out with the Indians on Tuesday and then join double-A Akron for the Eastern League playoffs.
Francona said multiple meetings took place with Donaldson and the team’s baseball and medical staffs before the decision was made for him to get playing time in the minors before returning to the majors.
“When you try to not get over-excited about him being here and getting on the field, we felt like him playing a handful of games would put him in the best position to be healthy where he could come back and play maybe back to back and play multiple games,” Francona said.
The 32-year-old, who has a .234 average and five home runs this season, will be reunited with former Blue Jays teammate Edwin Encarnacion in Cleveland, which opened play Monday with a 14-game lead over Minnesota atop the American League Central standings.
Donaldson to man 3rd base
Donaldson, who is eligible to play in the post-season, hasn’t played a major league game since May 28, dealing with a nagging calf injury. The 2015 American League MVP played in a rehab game with single-A Dunedin on Aug. 28, allowing the Blue Jays to place Donaldson on waivers and trade him.
“If I was writing a book, it’s not how I would have wanted it to go, but hopefully it has a happy ending,” said Donaldson, who will become Cleveland’s regular third baseman once healthy as manager Terry Francona will shift AL MVP candidate Jose Ramirez to second.
Donaldson took batting practice and did drills at Progressive Field on Sunday. Afterward, he said he was close to being 100 per cent.
“I feel very good about where I’m at right now,” said Donaldson, who took batting practice and worked out with the Indians before Sunday’s game. “I’d rather not talk about it. I’d rather you just be able to see it and make a judgment for yourself.”