Article Written by Hudson Stewart (@hudson_stewart6)
On April 10th, Josh Donaldson was put on the 10-day disabled list because of a shoulder injury. It first became apparent that his shoulder was bothering him on opening day against the Yankees, when he couldn’t make a throw to first with one-hopping it. Donaldson didn’t miss any games because of that. He DH’d a bit, and then went back to third, and it seemed like he was fine. So, when he was put on the DL, a lot of Blue Jays fans went into panic mode.
It’s understandable why a lot of people worried about his injury. I mean, this isn’t just any player we’re talking about here; t’s a former A.L. MVP. Donaldson’s health is going to be a vital part in the Blue Jays’ success this year, so that’s why it was so good to see him out there against Cleveland. Donaldson returned to the lineup three days ago, (May 3rd) and he definitely made an impact. There was a doubleheader that day, so Donaldson was able to get a lot of at-bats. He had 11 AB’s between the 2 games, and in those at-bats he got 4 hits, including 2 home runs.
This lineup isn’t even close to as powerful as the lineup from 2015 and 2016. That lineup had José Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Troy Tulowitzki, and Donaldson in it, all of who could go deep at any time. The 2018 lineup still has some power, but much less than the previous years. This means that the Blue Jays need a lot of offense from Donaldson this year in order to complete with the Yankees and Red Sox. The Jays will get some power from guys like Smoak and Solarte as well, but we all know Donaldson is going to need to do a lot of the heavy lifting this year in order for the Jays to succeed.
The main issue with Donaldson’s injury was that he couldn’t make good throws to first. Now that that injury appears to be behind him, we can expect the normal defensive effort from him. People forget how good of a defender he is at third. He not only goes all out on every play, but he can make some barehanded plays that not many other guys in the league can make.
When Donaldson was out, it was obvious that the Jays had enough depth to play well without him, thanks to guys like Yangervis Solarte and Lourdes Gurriel Jr.. But, when you really look at this team, it needs Josh Donaldson in it. He is their best player, and just like any team in sports, the Jays need their best player to play like their best player.
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