Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune reports that Pirates manager Clint Hurdle isn’t anticipating Gerrit Cole returning from the disabled list when he is first eligible, on July 20. There is presently no timetable for his return, but the end of July or the first week of August would seem to be a realistic target barring any setbacks.
Cole, who shut the Phillies out on one hit over five innings on July 4, has been on the disabled list since with a strained lat in his right shoulder. Aside from the injury, the 23-year-old right-hander has had a good season, posting a 3.78 ERA with a 78/29 K/BB ratio in 85 2/3 innings over 14 starts.
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.