Donaldson progressing, return date still unclear

Third baseman performing baseball activities, running on treadmill

Donaldson progressing, return date still unclear

ST. PETERSBURG -- Though Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson continues to progress in his rehabilitation from a lingering right calf injury, an official return date remains up in the air.

"Everything is coming along pretty well, slowly," the three-time All-Star said after a 6-1 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field.

"I was able to get on the [treadmill] today and do some light running and a little bit more aggressive agility stuff, and able to do some baseball activities -- hitting and taking some ground balls and playing catch. … It's going to be one of those things where it's gradual. But hopefully, we continue progressing in the right direction."

Donaldson has been limited to only nine games this season since being placed on the 10-day disabled list on April 14.

The 2015 American League Most Valuable Player began dealing with right calf issues during the first week of Spring Training, when he injured it while running sprints and was forced to sit out until the final week. Donaldson was then eased into play at the start of the regular season, getting at-bats as a designated hitter, but was removed from Toronto's game on April 9 at Tampa Bay because of a flare-up. Five days later, after pulling up while slowly running to second base in a 2-1 victory over Baltimore, Donaldson was sent to the DL.

"I'm happy with how it's progressing at the moment," he said. "The goal is each and every day, feeling like it's continuing to progress forward."

Donaldson said he was at speed six on a special anti-gravity Treadmill at 60-percent body weight. Though he has made progress with the equipment, Donaldson said he has not started running on the basepaths.

"First off, we want to make sure I'm able to get to 100 percent on the [treadmill] first with my body weight and we want to make sure I'm getting at game speed on the [treadmill] before I get out on the bases and start pushing it," he said.

Though being forced to watch from afar has been frustrating -- especially with the Blue Jays dropping 10 games below .500 on Saturday -- Donaldson isn't going to rush his comeback. Before setting any dates, he wants to run without thinking about the injury while feeling comfortable on a consistent basis.

"It's not something that I wanted, it's not something that I saw coming by any matter," he said. "But you've got to play the cards that you're dealt and these are the cards that I've been dealt right now.

"Hopefully, I'm playing them the right way so the next time I get out there, I'm able to stay out there a lot longer than I was this last time."

Jeff Odom is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.