ST. PETERSBURG -- The Blue Jays sustained their first injury of the regular season as Josh Donaldson left Wednesday afternoon's 5-3 loss to the Rays with a strained right calf muscle. He is considered day to day.
Donaldson had been dealing with a sore calf since a pair of exhibition games last weekend in Montreal, but he tried to play through the pain. He was noticeably limping at various points during Wednesday's game and eventually came out after his at-bat in the seventh inning.
The reigning American League MVP Award winner said he does not believe it's a serious injury, and he remains optimistic about being able to play in Friday's home opener against the Red Sox. Toronto will enjoy an off-day on Thursday before any final determination is made.
"It was one of those situations where, one, I didn't feel like I was able to play defense the way I wanted to," Donaldson said. "Two, if I had to try and run or something, it was pretty difficult. But we don't think it's too serious, and hopefully I'll be back for our next game."
Donaldson said he has dealt with calf issues several times during his career, and it typically is a quick recovery. A stint on the disabled list seems unlikely, and the hope is that he won't have to miss many games. If Toronto gets extremely lucky, he might not miss any at all.
The injury became apparent in the third inning when Donaldson hit a three-run homer to left field. It was his second long ball of the season, but he was noticeably limping around the bases. In the seventh, Donaldson then hit a chopper to shortstop, but he could not run up the first-base line.
Donaldson was removed from the game, as second baseman Darwin Barney moved across the diamond to third, while Ryan Goins entered at shortstop. Donaldson has missed a total of 12 games over the last three years. His overall durability has been among the best in baseball.
"It was day to day," Donaldson said of his previous calf issues. "I don't think right now it's anything [major], and that's why we made the decision to come out of the game, so it doesn't turn into something I'm going to have to miss multiple games for."