Josh Donaldson not in Blue Jays' starting lineup for home opener


A sore right calf will keep Josh Donaldson out of the Blue Jays' starting lineup for Tuesday night's 41st home opener against Milwaukee.

The star third baseman exited Sunday's 7-2 loss at Tampa Bay with right calf tightness after trying to beat a ground ball to third base and was replaced by Ryan Goins.

At the time, the 31-year-old Donaldson downplayed the injury and believed he would play Tuesday. The seventh-year major leaguer reportedly will be available off the bench, with Goins starting at third and hitting ninth in manager John Gibbons' lineup in his first start of the season.

"It's still hanging around. We'll see where he's at tomorrow. He's a big piece, obviously," said Gibbons of Donaldson.

Donaldson initially hurt the calf on Feb. 17 while running sprints at the Blue Jays' spring training facility in Dunedin, Fla. Toronto was careful in its handling of the 2015 American League MVP and he didn't return to the lineup until March 20.

Unlike his team, Donaldson has had a strong start to the season, posting a .348 batting average (8-for-23) with two home runs as the Blue Jays went 1-5 on their season-opening road trip to Baltimore and Tampa.

He dealt with some injuries last year, including one to his hip that bothered him throughout the post-season, and one to his calf that started in April but "flared up" at times during the season. Donaldson said last year's calf injury was on his left leg, not his right.

For the most part, he played through his ailments, sometimes starting at designated hitter instead of third base to give his legs a break.

Donaldson hit .284 with 37 homers and 99 runs batted in last season. He has been an all-star in three straight seasons.

In other Blue Jays news, closer Roberto Osuna (neck) was activated from the 10-day disabled list in time for Tuesday's contest. Right-handed reliever Casey Lawrence was optioned to triple-A Buffalo.

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