Jair Jurrjens has allowed just three runs in 15 innings at Triple-A since being demoted to the minors last month, but the Braves haven’t given any thought to his return.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez made it clear that Jurrjens was sent to the minors as a demotion, rather than as a rehab assignment, telling David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution: “Without making this sound cruel, he’s a minor league player right now.”
Gonzalez admitted that “nobody wants to have $5.5 million sitting down in Triple-A” and said reports from the minor-league coaching staff have been positive, but added that Jurrjens will only return “when he’s ready and we think he’s ready.”
In other words, it might be a while after the 26-year-old right-hander coughed up 17 runs in 16 innings to begin the season after injuries caused him to miss all of September last year.
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.