Donaldson likely to miss first couple weeks of spring with calf injury

Donaldson likely out for a couple weeks

DUNEDIN, Fla. — Josh Donaldson spent a good chunk of his morning in the trainer’s room at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium on Sunday.

When he was done, he left a pair of crutches in the clubhouse and limped in front of TV cameras to give reporters an update.

The Blue Jays’ all-star third baseman will likely miss the next couple weeks of spring training with a right calf strain suffered while running sprints at the team’s Dunedin facility on Friday.

“I’m ready to get out there right now, but the fact is my body’s not letting me,” said Donaldson, who was seen on crutches in the locker-room Sunday morning.

“I’m hoping it’s just a couple of weeks. It’s something that we don’t necessarily want to push too much, just for the simple fact that we have a little extra time with spring training right now. (We’re) just making sure that whenever I step back on the field it’s ready to go and I’m ready to be able to push it.”

Donaldson, the American League MVP in 2015, hit .284 last season with 37 homers and 99 RBIs through 155 games.

He dealt with some injuries last year, including one to his hip that bothered him throughout the post-season, and one to his calf that started in April but “flared up” at times during the season. Donaldson said last year’s calf injury was on his left leg, not his right.

For the most part, he played through his ailments, sometimes starting at DH instead of third base to give his legs a break.

He doesn’t think he’d be able to play through the latest calf injury right now, though.

“This is the first time I’ve had one flare up on me at spring training. This one probably grabbed me a little bit more than the other ones,” Donaldson said. “That’s why obviously we want to be as cautious as possible and wait to get out there — when I can go out on the field and not have to think about whether my leg’s sore.

“I feel pretty good with where the rest of my body is at right now. We just have to let this heal up.”

An MRI exam on Saturday revealed the strain after the 31-year-old sat out the team’s first full-squad workout of the spring.

Donaldson said he came into training camp feeling more prepared for the new year than ever after addressing his hip problems with Toronto’s training staff in the off-season.

“My hips and my core feel stronger than they’ve ever been,” he said. “I just have a little calf thing now that I’m having to deal with. But in the meantime I feel like in a couple weeks — three weeks at the most — I’ll be ready to go.”

With spring training workouts having just begun for position players, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons wasn’t too concerned with Donaldson’s timeline.

“There’s enough time,” he said. “He should be fine.”

Donaldson expects to use the crutches for at least another two days but doesn’t think he’ll need them much after that. 

“Where it’s difficult for me right now is when I get up on my toes and have to barrel my weight on my calf,” Donaldson said. “Everywhere else, if my foot’s up or elevated, I can flex my calf and everything feels fine. It’s just when I have all my weight on it right now.

“That’s why I’m using the crutches to help me take some of the pressure off of it. So hopefully in the next two, three, four days I don’t need them anymore.”

Melissa Couto, The Canadian Press