It's never a good sign when the memorial for the greatest pitcher the organization has ever produced, who died an untimely death, is the most positive part of the game.
I watched the game at the post-Pitch Talks event at The Rec Room, a massive restaurant entertainment spot across the street from the Rogers Centre. (I missed the actual event because traffic and the GO train conspired against me.)
Around the time Curtis Granderson lost a routine flyball in the lights and Giancarlo Stanton absolutely tatooed a J.A. Happ pitch into the right field stands in his first at bat as a Yankee, a palpable unease drifted over the assembled.
The unease turned into dread as it became clear Josh Donaldson couldn't make routine throws to first base. The first play he made, he dove towards second for the ball, which masked the bounced throw a little bit. The next one, it was clear there was a serious issue. On the big screen, I could see Donaldson moving the ball around in his hand, as if he was trying to get a good grip on it.
John Gibbons told the media after the game that Donaldson was dealing with "dead arm."
According to Wikipedia,
Dead arm syndrome starts with repetitive motion and forces on the posterior capsule of the shoulder. The posterior capsule is a band of fibrous tissue that interconnects with tendons of the rotator cuff of the shoulder. Four muscles and their tendons make up the rotator cuff. They cover the outside of the shoulder to hold, protect and move the joint.
Overuse can lead to a buildup of tissue around the posterior capsule called hypertrophy. The next step is tightness of the posterior capsule called posterior capsular contracture. This type of problem reduces the amount the shoulder can rotate inwardly.
“It’s just kind of been ongoing, back and forth. I don’t have any pain or anything like that, which is always good. It’s just about getting the strength back,” he said. “Some days it would feel really good, and then the next day, maybe I’m overworking it sometimes. It’s kind of a thing that I’m trying to be cautious with, while knowing when to push it and when not to.”
Donaldson's swing looked as powerful as ever and he did steal a base. The Jays announced today that Donaldson will be the DH for the next few games, with Solarte seeing time at third.
“There are things that we’re going to be able to do to get it there,” Donaldson told Sportsnet. “I think I can make it work.”
For those keeping track at home, Gibby wore his glasses in the dugout but took them off to make pitching changes.
Positive? Ok. J.A. Happ looked pretty good. He wasn't particularly efficient, but this Yankee lineup is the Greatest Lineup Ever Assembled in the History of Baseball (just ask any of the Jays' broadcasters. They will tell you. A lot.) But he was making good pitches and getting outs when he needed too. The game only really got out of hand when the bullpen was called upon.
It's easy to feel low after watching that game but I would remind all of us on the ledge that they don't need to be better than the Yankees to make the playoffs. They just need to be better than bunch of other decent teams to be in the mix.
Please just hit the damn ball.
Aaron Sanchez gets the ball tonight.
Ben Nicholson-Smith had a great piece on Sanchez's 2017 and how he came through a lost season plagued by injuries.