Donaldson hopes to play Friday night

American League MVP dealt with calf injuries last season

Donaldson hopes to play Friday night

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays are optimistic Josh Donaldson's strained right calf muscle will not keep him out of the lineup for Friday night's home opener against the Red Sox.

Donaldson was removed from Wednesday's game vs. the Rays in the seventh inning because of the injury. He did not take part in Thursday's on-field workouts at Rogers Centre, but manager John Gibbons hopes one day off is all Donaldson will need.

"To be honest, I think he'll be out there tomorrow night," Gibbons said. "He's feeling better today, but we have to wait until tomorrow to see. If it's worth giving him a day or two, if he needs that, it would be smart to do that, but I don't think that's going to happen."

Donaldson's injury dates back to the end of Spring Training, when he felt some discomfort during a pair of exhibition games in Montreal. He has dealt with this type of problem before in his career and typically has been able to play through it.

The one thing the Blue Jays insist they won't do is push the issue too far. If Donaldson doesn't feel quite right Friday night, he'll likely sit out a couple of games. Toronto wants to make sure this is a day-to-day issue and not something that can linger long term.

"Josh battled that last year a lot, not everybody was aware of that, but he has battled calf issues," Gibbons said. "He played through it, that's part of it."

Donaldson's return to the lineup would be very encouraging news for the Blue Jays in advance of a key series vs. the Red Sox. These two teams are expected to contend for the division title, and this will be Boston's first of three trips to Rogers Centre.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for 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.