CLEVELAND -- The arm issue that plagued Josh Donaldson has now sent him to the disabled list.
The Blue Jays placed the star third baseman on the 10-day DL on Friday (retroactive to Wednesday) with right shoulder inflammation. To replace Donaldson on the roster, Toronto recalled outfielder Teoscar Hernandez from Triple-A Buffalo.
In his first game of the season with the Blue Jays, Hernandez went 2-for-5 at the plate, doubling in the go-ahead run of Friday's 8-4 victory over the Indians. He added another RBI double in the ninth inning.
Toronto announced that Donaldson was sent for additional imaging procedures on Thursday. No structural damage or instability was found. He has been sent to Florida to rehab and start a throwing program at the club's Minor League complex.
"They checked his shoulder out, just inflammation," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He goes down to Florida and he'll start a throwing program, build himself back up. We'll see how long it takes. We don't anticipate long, but whatever happens, happens."
Gibbons remained vague about the specifics surrounding Donaldson's injury. He wasn't sure when Donaldson would begin a throwing program and he did not provide a clear answer on why the injury was previously described as a dead arm, and is now being called shoulder inflammation. A group of reporters requested to speak with a member of the club's medical staff, but were informed that head trainer Nikki Huffman was unavailable.
The Blue Jays clearly don't know exactly when Donaldson will be able to make his return, but until he's back on the field, Yangervis Solarte will become the primary option at third base. Russell Martin also will occasionally see some time at third base, and Mpho' Ngoepe remains a depth option off the bench.
Hernandez was in the lineup as the starting left fielder for Friday night's game against Cleveland, while Curtis Granderson got the start as the designated hitter. That's a temporary one-day solution, but Hernandez could see time in left field against left-handed pitching, and he will push Randal Grichuk for playing time in right field.
Losing Donaldson for an extended period of time is a worst-case scenario for the Blue Jays, but they are more prepared to handle his absence than they were a year ago when he was dealing with a calf issue. In 2017, the Blue Jays were forced to play Darwin Barney and Chris Coghlan at third, but this season, they have the luxury of turning to super utilityman Solarte instead.
"It's vital," Gibbons said of the depth. "Of course, you didn't anticipate Josh going down, but one of the reasons we picked up Solarte and [Aledmys] Diaz was because there were some concerns about [Troy Tulowitzki] and how he was going to hold up. Good thing we did."
Donaldson was batting .239/.352/.457 with three home runs and nine RBIs in 12 games. He did not play in the Blue Jays' most recent game on Wednesday, his first game missed this season.
"He's a key guy," Gibbons said. "He's one of the top players in the game of baseball, but he'll get through it. The game keeps moving on, man, that's one thing I've learned about baseball in 30-some years that I've been in it. It keeps rolling along but we'll get him back soon."
Estrada cleared for next start
Right-hander Marco Estrada dealt with back spasms during a start against the Orioles earlier this week, but he is expected to be available for his next scheduled outing on Tuesday against the Royals.
Estrada has dealt with lingering lower back issues for most of his career. He was pain-free in 2017, but the year before, he required a pair of stints on the DL because of the same problem. That's not expected to happen here, at least not now.
"He'll be fine," Gibbons said. "It's something he has dealt with before."