Blue Jays’ Donaldson working towards return at third

Josh Donaldson started at designated hitter once again on Sunday as he continues to work towards a return to third base.

Earlier in the weekend, manager John Gibbons said that Donaldson would return to his defensive role soon and if an extended workout session after Sunday’s game is any indication, it could be getting close.

Donaldson was on the field for a good half an hour after Sunday’s 7-4 win over the Yankees. He started playing long toss with Jays coach Luis Rivera and then moved on to fielding grounders at third. After making several awkward and weak throws in Thursday’s 6-1 loss to the Yankees, the Jays decided to move Donaldson to a tentative role at DH.

The team has maintained that the “dead arm” that has hindered Donaldson isn’t serious.

In the Bringer of Rain’s absence from third, Yangervis Solarte has been solid enough defensively.

WALK THIS WAY

When Yankees manager Aaron Boone issued the intentional pass of Josh Donaldson to get to Justin Smoak in the bottom of the eighth, he felt as though he was playing the percentages.

Smoak had struggled previously in his career when facing Yankees reliever David Robertson so on one level it made sense. But that was mostly before Smoak’s breakthrough 2017 season.

“I feel like a lot of the history (against Robertson) was a few years ago,” Smoak shrugged. “It’s one of those things where, (intentional walks) are going to happen to J.D. a lot. I mean, he’s an MVP, one of the best players going so it’s going to happen and I’m ready for it.”

When asked about the move, Gibbons wasn’t biting on a rival manager’s strategy.

“I don’t get into what other teams do,” Gibbons said. “It’s very difficult when you’ve got to make those decisions. Don’t go there.”

RADIO WAVES

From the work we have heard so far, it has been a solid start for Ben Wagner in his first series as the new radio voice of the Jays.

Well-prepared, Wagner makes good use of his partners — in the case of the opening series, Kevin Barker and Mike Wilner. It’s a strength the former Buffalo Bisons play-by-play man will need as Rogers will keep a revolving cast of partners during the season.

To these ears, the more Barker the better. The former players’ perspective is a good touch and Barker has a nice rapport with Wagner.

Sticking with broadcasting, Yankees announcer John Sterling offered this up for Brandon Drury’s first homer in Pinstripes on Sunday: “Aaron’s the Judge, but Brandon’s the Drury.”

Sterling made some noise earlier in the series when he called Giancarlo Stanton’s homers in Italian, something he vows to do for the remainder of the season.

HERE COME THE JUDGE (AND STANTON)

Sunday’s Jays starter Marcus Stroman said the key to facing Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton is to stick with your plan.

“It’s tough,” Stroman said. “Those guys have obviously remarkable power. They’re not only just power hitters, they’re great hitters as well so your approach needs to be on point every time you face those guys.”

Stroman managed to strike out Judge twice and Stanton once, allowing the latter a single.

“You can’t really take a pitch off. That Yankee lineup one through nine is pretty vicious. You’ve got to be on your game from pitch one to the last pitch.”

AROUND THE BASES

The Rogers Centre crowd of 29,091 was the lowest of the four-game series … Next up is a three gamer vs. the White Sox beginning Monday which will see the Blue Jays debut of starter Jaime Garcia … The Jays have at least one homer in each of their first four games, the first time that has happened since 2011 … Smoak became the third Toronto player to have six or more RBI against the Yankees joining Roy Howell who had nine in 1977 and Ernie Whitt who had six in 1987.

Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies