Making his first rehab appearance for Double-A New Hampshire, Jose Bautista had two homers, including a grand slam, on Thursday night.
The rehabbing Adam Lind was also in the lineup for the Fisher Cats and went 1-for-4 with a walk and three strikeouts.
Needless to say, the Jays are more excited about the prospect of getting Bautista back. He’s expected to be activated Friday after missing five weeks with a wrist injury. Lind is probably at least a few days away.
Anthony Gose, who went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Tigers and is hitting .183 with 36 strikeouts in 82 at-bats since his callup, figures to be sent down to make room for Bautista.
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.