Adam Rubin has the details:
“So, from my standpoint, his arm is fine, as far as we know. Was he ready to pitch when he came into camp? No. Even he may have been a little surprised by that. So that leaves us where we are today. And where we are today is getting him ready to pitch as soon as we possibly can. We haven’t rule out Opening Day, although given when we think he might get on the mound, it becomes less and less likely. We haven’t given up on that notion yet. And we’ll see where it takes us.”
After missing all of the 2011 season, Johan Santana returned to form quickly in 2012. He threw five shut-out innings in his first start on April 5 and carried a 2.76 ERA through the end of June. Unfortunately, the injury problems began to mount. An ankle sprain in July forced him to miss 24 games and cut into his effectiveness. In his final five starts, ending August 17, he had a 15.63 ERA in 19 innings. He was shut down for the rest of the season due to lower back inflammation.
If Santana, who turns 34 on March 13, is unable to get ready by Opening Day, 26-year-old lefty Jonathon Niese will likely get the nod.
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.