'Banged up' Donaldson gets time off

Gibbons admits All-Star third baseman not 100 percent healthy

'Banged up' Donaldson gets time off

TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson was held out of the Blue Jays' starting lineup on Friday night and while rest was a factor, his manager also admitted that the All-Star third baseman is a little "banged up."

Donaldson started all of Toronto's 43 games prior to the series opener against Seattle. That will take a toll on anybody, but Donaldson also is used to a heavy workload after appearing in 158 games during each of the past two seasons.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said earlier this week that he was hoping to give Donaldson a day off in the not-so-distant future and when that opportunity presented itself Friday night, he also admitted that his star player isn't 100 percent healthy.

"He needs it," Gibbons said of the day off. "He's banged up, he's been playing on a bad calf and his body is beat up. There's not all the drama about him, you'd never know that. But he's going to need it sooner than later, he's been out there every [darn] day."

The calf injury isn't considered serious and that's good news for a Blue Jays team that is currently trying to make ends meet without the services of Jose Reyes, Michael Saunders and Devon Travis. Jose Bautista hasn't played the field this month because of a strained right shoulder and another setback is the last thing this team can afford.

Another reason for the timing of Donaldson's absence from the starting lineup likely can be found in his career numbers against Mariners ace Felix Hernandez. Donaldson has just six hits in 33 at-bats (.182) against Hernandez with one homer, three RBIs and a pair of walks.

Danny Valencia got the start at third base because of Donaldson's absence. Donaldson is expected to make his return on Saturday afternoon when Seattle lefty James Paxton takes on veteran Mark Buehrle.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.