Orioles demote struggling starter Tommy Hunter to Triple-A

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Tommy Hunter is a 25-year-old veteran of five big-league seasons with 61 starts and 372 innings in the majors, but today the Orioles demoted him to Triple-A.

Hunter has struggled since Baltimore acquired him from Texas along with Chris Davis in exchange for Koji Uehara last July, throwing 105 innings with a 5.04 ERA and just 4.7 strikeouts per nine frames.

He was better than that with the Rangers, although just barely. Hunter had a 4.36 ERA and 5.1 strikeouts per nine frames in 266 total innings for Texas.

Jason Berken, a 28-year-old with a 5.34 ERA in 229 career innings, was called up from Triple-A to take Hunter’s spot on the roster.

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.