An Ailing Josh Donaldson is Still Bringing It in the Playoffs

Josh Donaldson is not playing at 100%. Then again, at this point in the postseason, not many guys are. Roberto Osuna, Devon Travis, Francisco Liriano … they’re all suffering with injuries.

But as a pivotal player on the Blue Jays’ roster at this most-important time of year, the Blue Jays need Josh Donaldson now more than ever. The gravity of the moment doesn’t seem to faze him, but I truly wonder how much pain Donaldson is playing through right now.

It’s likely stemming from Donaldson’s hip injury which began in mid-September, one which saw him miss three consecutive games. You knew it was serious when a guy like Donaldson, who had started 158 games every year since 2013, missed time in the field.


Not to mention, the Blue Jays were fighting for their playoff lives at that point, so unless it’s detrimental to their health, these players will simply grit it out to get to October.

Here we are, just a few days away from the inception of the ALCS, and whatever is ailing Josh Donaldson hasn’t gone away, but you certainly don’t hear him complaining about it. Judging by his play in the field, you’d never know he was hurting, either.

In the final game of the ALDS, Josh Donaldson continued to make impressive plays in the field, at the plate and on the base paths. Josh Donaldson is diving into bases with reckless abandon better than most players when they’re at full strength.

Donaldson leads all hitters in the postseason so far, with nine hits through four games. He’s slugging .778 without even hitting a home run.

When asked by reporters immediately after the game, Donaldson responded with “I don’t feel much of anything right now“. Then, during Game 3 post-game press conference, Shi Davidi asked the Blue Jays’ third baseman about any sort of limitations which may be in place

Kudos to Russell Martin for stepping in there and encouraging Josh Donaldson to just make something up, but he isn’t the only one to acknowledge something may be going on with Donaldson. Here’s what John Gibbons told Jeff Blair on Baseball Central on Monday:

“There are some things that go on and we can’t come out and say everything. He is really banged up. I was watching him the other day before that first game in Texas, watching his BP and he was having a hard time swinging.

He told me his hip was really bothering him, his lower back and his legs … and it didn’t look good. And then of course he goes out and gets on base five times and hits a couple of doubles.”

The key part of that quote from Gibbons? “We can’t come out and say everything”. Just like the vagueness of the upper and lower body injury in the NHL, maybe this hip injury doesn’t tell the whole story behind what’s going on with Josh Donaldson.

In all honesty, it wouldn’t surprise me if at the conclusion of the Blue Jays’ season, we learn that Josh Donaldson played through a substantial injury; a break, a tear, a strain, something significant.


Last year, Kevin Pillar played through a broken hand. R.A. Dickey suffered a torn meniscus. They can play through a lot and their pain tolerance is unbelievable. These guys clearly don’t want to be extricated from their team at this all-important time of year.

But with all this in mind, it gives you a new level of appreciation for what the Blue Jays play through. Again, Josh Donaldson leads all batters in hitting this postseason. He struggled through September, but Donaldson is back to his MVP-calibre self in the playoffs.

That means the Bringer of Rain can officially add the Bringer of Pain Tolerance to his resume.

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.