Especially now that Vernon Wells is out 8-10 weeks, the Angels could really use Torii Hunter back. It looks like it might happen early next week.
Hunter missed his 10th straight game Wednesday after being put on the restricted list to attend to matters involving his son in Texas. 17-year-old Darius McClinton-Hunter was one of five youths arrested in a sexual assault case earlier this month.
The Angels initially hoped Hunter would return this weekend, but he decided to stay in Texas.
“It’s still open-ended,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “We talked last week and thought he was going to be with us on this road trip.”
Now the hope is that he’ll return at some point during next week’s homestand. Scioscia said that Hunter has been working out, running and hitting in the batting cage he has at his house in the Dallas area.
“I think Torii’s always up. He’s dealing with an issue; that’s kind of where we want to leave it,” Scioscia said. “No doubt he wants to get back playing baseball, because that’s what he’s all about. But he has to be comfortable with his situation and work through some things.”
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.