A timing issue
Indians not sure when Donaldson will play
CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Indians knew what they were getting when they traded for Josh Donaldson — a former MVP who could help them reach the World Series. They just don’t know when they’ll be getting him on the field.
Donaldson doesn’t, either, but he said Sunday he’s close to being healthy enough to return. Acquired late Friday in a trade with Toronto, he has played in only 36 games because of shoulder and calf issues.
“It’s been difficult,” he said before Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay. “If I was writing a book it’s not how I would have wanted it to go, but hopefully it has a happy ending.”
Donaldson took several rounds of batting practice, ran the bases and did agility drills Sunday.
“I’m excited because my body’s come to the point now where I feel very much comfortable in going out there and playing — and not just playing at an ordinary level — but at a very high level as well,” he said.
Indians president Chris Antonetti and manager Terry Francona met with Donaldson after his workout. It’s still unclear what Donaldson will need to do before he’s ready to take over at third base. He could continue to work with the team or play on a minor league rehab assignment.
“That’s what we’re still working on,” Donaldson said. “Whenever that schedule is finalized between all parties, I’m sure it’s going to be addressed, how we’re going to move forward.”
The 32-year-old Donaldson batted .234 with five home runs and 16 RBIs this season for the Blue Jays. He hasn’t played since May 28 because of the calf injury. He also was out from April 11-May 2 with a shoulder problem.
“I feel very good about where I am right now,” Donaldson said. “I’d rather not talk about it. I’d rather you see it and judge for yourself.”
Donaldson’s addition will cause position changes. Jose Ramirez will move from third to second and Jason Kipnis, the starting second baseman, will begin taking fly balls in center field.
Antonetti acknowledged the situation will lead to uncertainty, especially since it isn’t clear when Donaldson will be ready.
“They’re obviously tied together,” he said. “All three guys with Kip, Josh and Jose. All of their plans are interdependent. Once we have an idea what Josh’s plan will be, that will inform our conversations with Jason and Jose.”