Donaldson's pinch-hit appearance good sign

Donaldson's pinch-hit appearance good sign

TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson's sore right calf is not yet quite healthy enough to start a game, but he felt good enough to pinch-hit during Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Brewers.

Donaldson was one swing away from tying the game when he stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning, but the heroics would have to wait for at least one more day. Toronto's star third baseman struck out swinging following an eight-pitch at-bat vs. Milwaukee closer Neftali Feliz.

Donaldson's absence was due to tightness in his right calf, which forced his exit from Sunday's game vs. Tampa Bay in the sixth inning. He initially hoped to be in the starting lineup Tuesday night, and while that turned out to be a little overly optimistic, the fact that he got into the game as a pinch-hitter shows he's not too far off.

"It's just still hanging around, so we figured it was best to give him another day," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said earlier in the day. "We'll see where he's at tomorrow."

Donaldson's Silver Slugger Award

Utility infielder Ryan Goins got the start at third base on Tuesday night in Donaldson's absence and went 0-for-2 with a walk. Goins and fellow infielder Darwin Barney will split time at third until Donaldson makes his return to the starting lineup.

Donaldson missed most of Spring Training because of a right calf injury, but he said the nature of this latest ailment was not the same.

"This is a completely different spot on my calf," Donaldson said. "My calf is a lot better today than it was just yesterday."

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.