With a number of Braves dealing with minor aches and pains during the first few weeks of Spring Training, the most popular question I’ve fielded from fans at the ballpark and on Twitter has been “what’s the deal with Josh Donaldson?” Everyone I’ve spoken to around the team has assured me, he’s not being held out due to an injury. We had expected to see Donaldson in the Atlanta lineup on Friday afternoon, but in the early morning hours when the lineup was posted, Austin Riley was slotted in at the hot corner. So, why haven’t we seen Donaldson in game action to this point? And more importantly, when could fans expect to see him on the field?
I had a chance to visit with Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos this morning, and asked him about Donaldson’s status and what can be expected in the coming days. “I think this is an adjustment of past springs because he did too much too soon and that’s where he flared up” Anthopoulos told me on Monday morning. “He ended the season healthy, he ended the season playing at a high level” the Braves GM added. Alex went on to give me an update on the plans for Donaldson, which include participating in a simulated game on Tuesday and then game action “right after that” which could be as early as Wednesday at Disney. The schedule does make a lot of sense too, as the Braves have Thursday off and a night game against the Phillies on Friday, so it could mean Donaldson plays both of those contests, with essentially 48 hours off in between.
So, breathe easy, Braves fans. Donaldson has been on a back field doing all the normal Spring Training activities, including hitting, fielding, running the bases and more. And now we know it will just be another day or two until we see him officially don a Braves uni for the first time in his career. And with three and a half weeks to go until Opening Day, guys like Donaldson will be plenty ready to break camp and head north for the games that count starting on March 28.
One more quick update, and it’s another good one. Dansby Swanson checked out well today doing the normal pre-game routines and is expected to be in the lineup on Tuesday when the Braves travel to Tampa to take on the Yankees. Swanson was expected to debut on Friday, but was scratched with soreness in his left wrist, but reports on his progress have been positive and he’ll see game action on Tuesday as Atlanta hits the road against the Bronx Bombers.
Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet