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Donaldson hits grand slam in first rehab game

Newly acquired third baseman placed on DL, could return Sept. 11
MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- Josh Donaldson's first appearance with the Indians appears to be taking a step in the right direction.

The Indians placed the newly acquired third baseman on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to Saturday, with a left calf strain. The move allowed Donaldson to begin a rehab assignment on Monday afternoon with Triple-A Columbus, where he hit a grand slam. He finished 1-for-2 with a walk and played six innings at third base.

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CLEVELAND -- Josh Donaldson's first appearance with the Indians appears to be taking a step in the right direction.

The Indians placed the newly acquired third baseman on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to Saturday, with a left calf strain. The move allowed Donaldson to begin a rehab assignment on Monday afternoon with Triple-A Columbus, where he hit a grand slam. He finished 1-for-2 with a walk and played six innings at third base.

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Indians manager Terry Francona praised Donaldson's communication with team personnel when mapping out a rehab plan and said Donaldson will likely play six innings Monday before returning to the Tribe to work out Tuesday. Donaldson will then transfer to Double-A Akron to finish the stint, and he could switch between third and designated hitter.

"We had multiple conversations, multiple meetings with medical people and with Josh," Francona said. "Just felt like to put him in the best position to succeed … we felt like him playing a handful of games would put him in the best position to be healthy, where he could come back and play maybe back-to-back and play multiple games."

Video: Donaldson talks reuniting with Encarnacion on Indians

The Blue Jays acquired the three-time All-Star on Friday, along with cash, ahead of the deadline to acquire players in time to be eligible to join a postseason roster. Donaldson had been on Toronto's DL for the second time this season from May 29 through Thursday, and he was activated to complete Friday's trade.

Donaldson will be eligible to come off the DL Sept. 11 in St. Petersburg in time for the Tribe's second of three games against the Rays. Francona said it's "definitely the hope" to get Donaldson with the Tribe by then, but he also said overall health is the priority.

"Don't let excitement get in the way of making the proper decision," Francona said. "In the end, we had a really good process. He was involved in it and he was tremendous. The other thing is to respect the other guys that it's affecting."

Donaldson, an eight-year veteran, has been limited to 36 games in 2018, hitting .234 with 11 doubles, five home runs and 16 RBIs in 137 at-bats. Shortly after Donaldson was acquired, Francona announced that Donaldson would become the team's everyday third baseman once healthy, moving American League MVP Award candidate Jose Ramirez to second base and shifting Jason Kipnis to center field.

"They'll be starting to take balls at other positions and when they're ready to move, we'll make that move when they're ready, even if it's before Donaldson's back with us," Francona said.

Tweet from @Indians: A little fieldwork today for a fresh face ...#RallyTogether pic.twitter.com/uxDir3fGjo

Donaldson was introduced to the media on Sunday and was at Progressive Field participating in speed, agility and baserunning exercises as well as batting practice.

"There was a lot to be excited about," Francona said. "[But] you try to not get overexcited about him being here and getting on the field."

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Reliever Cody Anderson made a rehab appearance for Double-A on Monday. The right-hander gave up a leadoff walk and induced a pair of flyouts in one inning against Erie, finishing with 13 pitches (six strikes) with his fastball ranging from 89-92 mph, according to the radar gun. Anderson has been sidelined since 2016 because of Tommy John surgery. A return to the Tribe this season is still questionable.

"Right now, it's just kind of day to day, seeing how my arm bounces back," Anderson told MLB.com's Jason Beck. "I think I have two innings coming up at some point, so I'm looking forward to that and just taking another step forward.

"Every time you attack something and try to get better at that instead of focusing on the long term -- you don't look at the light at the end of the tunnel. You look at the next day and what you have to do to get prepared."

Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. You can follow him on Twitter @Casey_Harrison1.

Cleveland Indians, Josh Donaldson