Hoffman back in action, but in setup role

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hoffman walking.jpgTrevor Hoffman returned to action on Sunday for the first the first time since allowing three earned runs in a blown save opportunity on May 18 against the Reds.  He got four days off in total, and it seemed to help him this afternoon as he pitched a perfect eighth inning against the Twins.

He won’t return to closing duties until he can string together several quality innings in setup or middle relief.  Carlos Villanueva is covering most of the save chances and John Axford is getting some looks, too.  Hoffman believes that will change eventually, though, and he’s probably right.

“It’s about winning ballgames,” the veteran told MLB.com.  We briefly discussed it, and [the eighth inning is] obviously not where I want to pitch, but I’ve put myself in this
position and put the team in a [poor] position. [Manager Ken Macha]
needs to worry about many different facets of what’s going on, so if I
go out and throw the ball better than I have for a little bit, then
things will change back.”

Hoffman, 42, has a 13.15 ERA and a 2.15 WHIP this season even with Sunday’s flawless frame.  The trust of Macha and the Brewers faithful will return slowly — with time and solid performances.

Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson to table extension talks

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Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.

Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.

The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.

If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.