Casey Kotchman presumably won’t be available for tonight’s game after being taken to the hospital with tightness in his chest, according to the Tampa Tribune.
For now the Rays have deemed the hospital trip and testing “precautionary,” but Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times reports that Kotchman was taken out on a stretcher.
Kotchman is one of the big reasons why the Rays are in position to make the playoffs, hitting .305 with a .377 on-base percentage in 145 games after joining the team on a minor-league contract that pays him just $750,000. He has an .800 OPS after batting just .254 with a .695 OPS during the previous three seasons.
Update: The Rays officially scratched Kotchman from the lineup. Reid Brignac was inserted into his place, and Sean Rodriguez moved from short to first.
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.