Donaldson does not want to say he is healthy, he wants to prove it

Team meetings took place Sunday to determine former MVP's path

Alex Hooper
September 02, 2018 - 8:08 pm
Sep 1, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) looks on from the dugout during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Progressive Field.

© Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Josh Donaldson is not in the healthcare business, rather the results business, and business is about to pick up.

The new Cleveland Indians third baseman will not see Major League action again until he is deemed ready by team brass. Donaldson, team doctors, the front office and Manager Terry Francona are all meeting on Sunday to discuss the plan of action going forward, discussions that had not taken place when the 32-year-old spoke to the media pre-game.

The former American League MVP had no desire to put a percentage on his return to full health, but did say that he was feeling good.

“I’d rather not talk about it, I’d rather just you be able to see it and you could judge it yourself,” he said.

Donaldson maintains that he is beyond working himself back into the position to perform at a high level, and is simply managing his workload. That would insinuate that he would be ready for at least some game action in the coming days.

Prior to being traded, Donaldson played two games at High-A Dunedin, homering in the latter. Before being reactivated on May 3rd following right shoulder inflammation, the Bringer of Rain had played just two games at Dunedin with two games in between.

The only difference is that Donaldson had played a Major League game 18 days prior to starting his first rehab stint. It has been over three months since the third baseman has seen live, big league pitching, and two rehab games may not have been enough.

While time is not necessarily of the essence, as the Indians would have to collapse epically to concede the AL Central, the deal to bring in Donaldson does create a sense of urgency. With two positions changes about to be set in motion, the sooner the third baseman gets back in the squad, the sooner José Ramírez and Jason Kipnis can get reacclimated to second base and center field, respectively.

Donaldson understands that urgency, and was appreciative of his new teammates’ willingness to accommodate him.

“I just think it shows you how much this organization and the players in this organization want to win, and not just winning the regular season, but winning the postseason,” he said. “And sometimes in order to do that, you have to make sacrifices. I’m anxious about helping these guys get to that level and continue to stay on the level where they’ve been.”

Donaldson ran the bases, threw and then took batting practice prior to the team’s 6-4 loss on Sunday as Chris Antonetti watched. The Indians president spoke to the media soon thereafter, jokingly urging the media to ask fewer questions so he could proceed to his meetings with and about Donaldson.

Whatever the plan was when those meetings broke, Antonetti remained cautiously excited about the future of his deal in the 11th hour.

“We went into it knowing that there’s a lot of risk and the fact that he hadn’t played for a while,” he said. “Exactly when he’d be healthy and ready to go and play regularly is still a little uncertain. And the level of performance when he returns after missing so much time is hard to predict. The one thing we’re confident, when Josh is healthy and in a good spot, he’s a really productive player on both sides of the ball.”