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Donaldson set to begin rehab assignment

Third baseman has been dealing with shoulder inflammation; Axford returns, Mayza optioned
MLB.com @gregorMLB

TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson has cleared another hurdle on his road to recovery as the three-time All-Star is set to officially begin a rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Dunedin on Saturday afternoon.

Toronto announced following Friday night's 6-4 loss to the Rangers that Donaldson would be getting the start at designated hitter for Dunedin. The Blue Jays have yet to announce how many games Donaldson will need to play before returning but it's possible he will be back in Toronto's lineup at some point next week.

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TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson has cleared another hurdle on his road to recovery as the three-time All-Star is set to officially begin a rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Dunedin on Saturday afternoon.

Toronto announced following Friday night's 6-4 loss to the Rangers that Donaldson would be getting the start at designated hitter for Dunedin. The Blue Jays have yet to announce how many games Donaldson will need to play before returning but it's possible he will be back in Toronto's lineup at some point next week.

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Donaldson received the final clearance for the rehab start after he threw to bases at the Blue Jays' Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla., on Friday morning. He previously had been going through long-toss drills as he works his way through a throwing program to combat inflammation in his right shoulder.

The 32-year-old has appeared in just 12 games this season because of the shoulder injury. He is batting .239/.352/.457 with three home runs and nine RBIs in 46 at-bats. The 2015 American League MVP Award winner has been out since April 10.

Axford returns
Blue Jays right-hander John Axford returned from the bereavement list prior to Friday night's game against the Rangers. Axford missed the previous three-game series against Boston following a death in his family.

Lefty Tim Mayza was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo to make room on the 25-man roster for Axford. Mayza has made a pair of appearances for the Blue Jays this season and has not allowed a run over 1 2/3 innings.

UMPS Care charity auction
A pair of tickets to an upcoming Blue Jays game, with a night stay at the nearby Hyatt Regency Toronto, and a baseball autographed by Marcus Stroman are among the items being auctioned off as part of the 10th annual UMPS Care charity online auction.

Major League Baseball (MLB) umpires will offer up more than 300 items that include priceless autographed sports memorabilia, one-of-a-kind VIP experiences, and upgraded ticket packages during its 10th Annual UMPS CARE Charities Online Auction. The auction is currently underway at www.mlb.com/UmpsCare and closes at 10 p.m. ET on Monday, April 30. Some of the items up for bid include signed bats, cleats, jerseys, photos and baseballs from some of the biggest stars in baseball. There are also opportunities to watch batting practice up close on the field at many MLB ballparks, hotel stays with game tickets, opportunities to have lunch with an MLB umpire, suites and tickets from Minor League Baseball clubs, golf foursomes and more.

All proceeds from the Online Auction support UMPS CARE Charities youth programs to provide Major League Baseball experiences for children awaiting adoption, Build-A-Bear Workshop® experiences for hospitalized children coping with serious illnesses, college scholarships for deserving young adults who were adopted as children, and financial assistance for families in need.

"Each year, thanks to the support from our friends in Major League Baseball and throughout the sports world, we get some fantastic items for our auction, and this year is no exception," said Gary Darling, former MLB umpire and Board President for UMPS CARE Charities. "This is the biggest fundraising initiative that we have to help so many children in need, and we can't thank everyone enough for all of the support. Please tell all of your friends, bid early and bid often to help this great cause."

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