Donaldson ready for new chapter with Blue Jays
DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) Josh Donaldson hasn’t quite gotten used to seeing a reflection of himself in the bright blue hue of a Toronto Blue Jays uniform.
”It matches the eyes,” he quipped Tuesday.
Acquired from Oakland in November for third baseman Brett Lawrie and three other players, Donaldson was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 2007 and was traded to the Athletics a year later. He spent all four of his big league seasons with Oakland, becoming an All-Star last year.
”I wasn’t really expecting it,” Donaldson said of the trade, ”But kind of after thinking about it for a little while, I really think that this is going to be more beneficial to me and my career.”
Donaldson hit .255 with a career-high 29 homers and 98 RBIs last season and likely will join Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and fellow newcomer Russell Martin in the middle of the batting order.
”We’re real excited,” manager John Gibbons said. ”We’re fantasizing about putting him in there with Eddie, Bautista and those guys. It makes us that much better.”
Though the 25-year-old Lawrie seen by many in the organization as a high-energy player with solid attributes defensively, his inability to stay off the disabled list caused Toronto to consider trade offers. A series of injuries, including a broken right index finger and an oblique strain, limited Lawrie to 70 games last season, including just four innings over the final three months.
Donaldson appeared in 158 games in both 2013 and 2014.
”I believe that’s your sixth tool,” Donaldson said. ”Everybody talks about having five tools, I think the sixth tool is being able to stay on the field, because if you’re not able to stay on the field, you’re not able to benefit your club that day.”
Gibbons hopes that carries over to this season.
”It’s hard to find a better third baseman than Brett Lawrie was, but Donaldson is right up there and we shouldn’t miss a beat,” Gibbons said. ”You look at what he’s done the last couple years, he’s anchored a lineup that’s flirting with the postseason every year. That tells you enough right there.”
NOTES: After missing Monday’s first official workout because of an illness, LHP Brett Cecil reported to camp. The 2013 All-Star played catch at the stadium prior to morning workouts, then returned home instead of joining the team at its training complex. … GM Alex Anthopoulos said he understands C Dioner Navarro’s frustration with his demotion to a backup role following the acquisition of Martin. Anthopoulos is open to a trade. ”If that everyday job presents itself for him, I think we’ll be able to get a deal done fast,” Anthopoulos said. ”Until that time comes, he’ll be part of the team.”