It took about seven minutes from the start of Friday’s Orioles-Tigers game for the home-plate umpire to cost Baltimore a run.
Nick Markakis was safe on a close play at home plate in the top of the first inning tonight, but he was called out by Tim Timmons, who actually might have blown two calls on the play; Markakis was trying to score on a Nate McLouth roller down the first-base line that actually looked like it was picked in foul territory. That it was ruled fair was Timmons’ call as well.
So, the Orioles lost at least one run to start off with, and now the Tigers have quickly taken a 1-0 lead on Miguel Cabrera’s homer in the bottom of the 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.