After the Blue Jays announced yesterday that Josh Donaldson will be sidelined with a calf strain, the former AL MVP returned to camp in Dunedin this morning. John Lott notes that Donaldson is now sporting crutches, and expects to miss 2-3 weeks of time.
Donaldson using crutches for a few days, expects to be down for two or three weeks with calf strain. #Bluejays
— John Lott (@LottOnBaseball) February 19, 2017
This is obviously cause for some concern for the Jays. Donaldson started the 2016 campaign with a similar injury, and finished the year dealing with a hip issues. The organization appears to be optimistic that this calf strain will not set him back for the regular season (though it will likely limit his at bats in the Grapefruit League).
In the event that Donaldson will be unavailable for Opening Day, the Jays do have some depth to work with. They could have Darwin Barney man third base, which he did in 32 games last season. They could also try Steve Pearce at the position. Pearce can play just about anywhere in the infield, though he has only logged 12 games in his career at third base. If the team is content with Justin Smoak at first base and Melvin Upton Jr. in left field, then Pearce could be a fit at third.
Of course, this is all hypothetical planning in the event that Donaldson is unable to go. We are still six weeks out from Opening Day. With any luck, Donaldson’s calf will have recovered, and there won’t be a need for contingency plans.