Donaldson is mired in an 0-for-23 slump, which is his longest hitless streak during two years with Toronto. He has dealt with several nagging injuries throughout the season, but he has played in all but five of the 143 games.
"He's beat up," Gibbons told reporters Monday afternoon. "His body is banged up. Let him regroup, rest up. He's hurting."
The 30-year-old Donaldson missed a handful of games earlier this year because of a jammed right thumb. The most recent occurrence came on Aug. 17 when he left a game vs. the Yankees and then sat out the next two games as well. Donaldson also battled a sore knee after he hit a foul ball off his left leg during a three-homer game vs. the Twins.
Gibbons was specifically asked about whether the thumb was an issue, and he replied, "Not really." But outside of that, he remained vague when describing what was bothering his star player. The one thing Gibbons strongly committed to was that Donaldson would only be out of the lineup for one game.
"Oh yeah," Gibbons said when asked if Donaldson would play in Game 2 of the series vs. Tampa Bay.
Michael Saunders moved up in the lineup to assume Donaldson's No. 2 spot in the batting order and went 1-for-4. The rest of the order remained relatively unchanged, with Devon Travis hitting leadoff, Edwin Encarnacion batting third and Jose Bautista back in the cleanup position.
Donaldson is batting .284 with a .400 on-base percentage in 138 games this season. He also leads the league with 112 runs, and he has 34 homers and 92 RBIs, while posting a .952 OPS.
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. 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.