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Donaldson expected back at third today

Third baseman has been limited to DH duties because of 'dead arm' issue
MLB.com @gregorMLB

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays expect to have Josh Donaldson back at third base for Tuesday night's game against the White Sox.

Donaldson has been limited to designated-hitter duties because of what the club described as a "dead arm" issue. He started at third base on Opening Day but seemed incapable of throwing across the diamond and was then kept away from defensive duties.

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TORONTO -- The Blue Jays expect to have Josh Donaldson back at third base for Tuesday night's game against the White Sox.

Donaldson has been limited to designated-hitter duties because of what the club described as a "dead arm" issue. He started at third base on Opening Day but seemed incapable of throwing across the diamond and was then kept away from defensive duties.

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The 32-year-old was spotted after Sunday's 7-4 victory over the Yankees going through throwing drills on the field. He started with long toss in the outfield, and later transitioned to fielding ground balls at third and throwing the ball to first.

"There's a good chance he'll be out there tomorrow," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said on Monday afternoon. "I saw him yesterday, and everything looked normal to me. Give him one more day to DH and shoot for tomorrow."

Video: NYY@TOR: Donaldson gets his first hit of the season

Donaldson's injury has kept Kendrys Morales out of the lineup since Opening Day. Morales does have the ability to occasionally play first base, but with Justin Smoak locked in at that position there has been no way to get Morales at-bats. He entered play on Monday night with just six at-bats in three games.

The one positive to the current situation is that the Blue Jays have been able to work utility infielder Yangervis Solarte into the lineup more than expected. Gibbons felt one of his challenges at the start of this season would be finding enough at-bats for Solarte, and so far that hasn't been an issue.

Solarte has started four games for the Blue Jays, including Monday night vs. Chicago, and he played the hero role in Saturday's victory over the Yankees with a home run in the eighth inning off reliever Dellin Betances. When Donaldson returns, Solarte's at-bats will take a hit, but he is still expected to start every third game at second base for Devon Travis.

"We were trying to find him at-bats. I think that's important," Gibbons said. "We got him here because he can hit. That made it nice right out of the gates. It wasn't the way we planned it, but if we can keep him out there regularly, somehow, I think he'll have a big year. He can hit from both sides of the plate and he's energetic, he livens up the team, I know that."

Minor League assignments

The Blue Jays unveiled the projected rosters for their top four levels of their Minor League affiliates on Monday afternoon. As expected, top prospects Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette will open the year with Double-A New Hampshire while right-hander Nate Pearson will be assigned to Class A Dunedin.

Video: MLB Tonight discusses Vlad Jr. walk-off homer

Triple-A Buffalo's starting rotation is expected to include Ryan Borucki, Taylor Guerrieri, Joe Biagini, Deck McGuire and Sam Gaviglio. Prospects Dan Jansen and Reese McGuire will split time behind the plate while the Bisons will go with an outfield of Dwight Smith Jr., Teoscar Hernandez, Roemon Fields and Ian Parmley until Dalton Pompey and Anthony Alford return from injury.

Prospects Sean Reid-Foley, Jordan Romano and Jon Harris will be part of the rotation at Double-A New Hampshire. Max Pentecost will assume most of the catching duties while the bullpen has a number of intriguing pieces, including Zach Jackson, Andrew Case and veteran Craig Breslow.

Last year's third-round pick Riley Adams will be the primary catcher in Dunedin. Former first-round pick T.J. Zeuch will join Pearson in the promising rotation that also includes Patrick Murphy and reliever Jackson McClelland. Kacy Clemens, son of Roger, will be among the notable names at Class A Lansing.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Toronto Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson