TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have dug themselves into an early hole in the American League East, and it got even deeper on Friday afternoon when Josh Donaldson was placed on the 10-day disabled list.
Donaldson hit the DL for the first time in his career because of the same calf issue which has plagued him since the start of Spring Training. In corresponding move, utilityman Chris Coghlan had his contract selected from Triple-A Buffalo to take Donaldson's spot on the roster.
The loss of Donaldson is yet another blow for a team that entered play on Friday with a 1-8 record and a 5 1/2-game deficit in the division. The hope is that Donaldson will not require more than a 10-day absence, but technically there is no timetable for his return and Toronto will have to find a way to survive without him.
"It's very aggravating, very frustrating," Donaldson said. "At the same time, you have to stay as positive as possible and look to get back in the right time and make sure that everything is going to be good. I'm not going to set a timeline right now. It's too fresh, but I'll know a lot more in the next few days and just go from there."
Donaldson began experiencing calf issues during the first week of Spring Training. He sat out most of camp, but he returned in the final week and received clearance to begin the season on time. That plan didn't last very long, as Donaldson had to be removed from a game against the Rays on April 9 when the discomfort resurfaced.
The 31-year-old then sat out Tuesday's home opener vs. Milwaukee before returning the next night as a pinch-hitter. The hope was that he would be able to get into games as a designated hitter until his health improved, but that plan went up in flames when he doubled during Friday night's 2-1 loss to the Orioles and pulled up lame while running to second base.
Toronto's current approach to Donaldson's rehab clearly has not worked. He will now require a full shutdown, and the indication is that the club will not come up with a potential timeframe for his return for at least a few more days.
"This is more severe than in Tampa," Donaldson said. "I'm probably going to have to miss some time with it, and the important part is to make sure whenever I do come back, it's ready and just go from there."
Toronto is expected to use a patchwork solution at third base until Donaldson eventually returns. Darwin Barney got the start on Friday night, but Coghlan will see some time there. Ryan Goins remains a candidate to occasionally play third as well. Coghlan could see some occasional time in left field, too, and he gives Toronto the ability to use another left-handed hitter in the lineup.
"This is what you have to deal with professional athletes," Donaldson said in reference to the Blue Jays coping without him. "You have to take ownership of what you're doing. You have to learn from the mistakes that you're doing and go out there and correct them."
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.