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Blue Jays make moves as Donaldson returns

Smoak placed on paternity list; Mayza, Smith recalled; Pearce to DL
MLB.com @benweinrib

CLEVELAND -- Josh Donaldson made his long-awaited return from the 10-day disabled list as the Blue Jays announced a flurry of roster moves before and during Thursday's doubleheader against the Indians.

Donaldson served as the 26th man, and since the doubleheader was scheduled more than 48 hours in advance, he was eligible for both games. The Blue Jays also placed All-Star first baseman Justin Smoak on the paternity list, as he and his wife, Kristin, are expecting their second child.

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CLEVELAND -- Josh Donaldson made his long-awaited return from the 10-day disabled list as the Blue Jays announced a flurry of roster moves before and during Thursday's doubleheader against the Indians.

Donaldson served as the 26th man, and since the doubleheader was scheduled more than 48 hours in advance, he was eligible for both games. The Blue Jays also placed All-Star first baseman Justin Smoak on the paternity list, as he and his wife, Kristin, are expecting their second child.

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Before the first game, Toronto also recalled left-hander Tim Mayza and outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. and optioned infielder Gift Ngoepe. In between games, the Blue Jays recalled Game 2 starter Joe Biagini, placed Steve Pearce on the 10-day DL, optioned right-hander Danny Barnes, selected the contract of right-hander Luis Santos and designated Ngoepe for assignment.

When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster, and 25-man roster if he was on that as well. Within seven days of the transaction (it was previously 10 days), the player must either be traded, released or placed on irrevocable outright waivers.

Pearce had returned to the lineup for Thursday's 13-11, 11-inning Game 1 win after sitting out the last two games with left oblique tightness and picked up a single in his first at-bat, but his night ended shortly after that. Pearce grounded out and struck out in his next two at-bats and was replaced defensively at first base before the bottom of the fifth inning by Aledmys Diaz, who shifted to shortstop. After the game, Pearce was placed on the 10-day DL with the same oblique injury.

Donaldson had been out since April 11 with right shoulder inflammation, and he feels fully healed. The injury affected his throwing, and Donaldson initially tried to play through the injury as DH.

"I made a few plays and made a nice backhand play in one of the Minor League rehab games I was playing in," Donaldson said. "Just throughout the entire process, I feel like it was getting stronger and stronger, and I feel like that was the final mark I needed."

In Game 1, Donaldson went 3-for-7, including a game-tying homer and a pair of doubles while driving in three. He also added another home run in Game 2.

Using Donaldson as the 26th man effectively allowed the Blue Jays to use 27 players in the doubleheader. Biagini wasn't used in the first game since he started the second, so Toronto cleverly found a way to have an extra reliever for the first game.

The move to trade in infield depth (Ngoepe) for outfield depth (Smith) stems from a pair of minor injuries in the outfield: Pearce and Kevin Pillar, who jammed his wrist making a catch against the wall on Wednesday. That came in handy when Pearce aggravated the injury and had to leave the first game.

Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com.

Toronto Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson, Justin Smoak