CLEVELAND — Josh Donaldson said he’s ready to play right now, he just isn’t sure where.
Donaldson, who was in the midst of a minor league rehab assignment when he was acquired in a trade with Toronto late Friday night, was examined by team doctors Sunday morning. He then underwent a workout at Progressive Field, running the bases and taking batting practice.
The Indians have yet to decide whether or not Donaldson needs to begin another rehab stint or join the major league roster. If it’s rehab, he would have to be placed back on the 10-day disabled list.
“You know, that’s what we’re still working on,” said Donaldson, who met with the Cleveland media for the first time prior to Sunday’s game. He came off the DL on Saturday and joined his new teammates in the dugout during a 5-3 loss to Tampa Bay.
“Whenever that schedule is finalized between all parties, I’m sure it’s going to be announced and addressed how we’re going to move forward,” Donaldson said.
“I’m excited because my body is coming to the point now where I feel very much comfortable in going out there and playing — not only playing at an ordinary level, but at a very high level as well. I feel very good about where I’m at right now. I’d rather not talk about it, I’d rather just you be able to see it and you could judge it yourself.”
That’s good news for the Indians, who acquired Donaldson even though he has been sidelined for much of the season and because they’re planning to move MVP candidate Jose Ramirez to second base to clear room for Donaldson at third.
“(We’re) really excited about the potential impact Josh might have on our team,” team president Chris Antonetti said of the 2015 AL MVP and three-time All-Star, who has appeared in only 36 games and has been inactive since May 28 with a left calf issue. “We went into it knowing that there’s a lot of risk and the fact that he hadn’t played for a while. Exactly when he’d be healthy and ready to go and play regularly is still a little uncertain. And the level of performance when he returns after missing so much time is hard to predict. The one thing we’re confident … when Josh is healthy and in a good spot, he’s a really productive player on both sides of the ball. We were willing to take the risk. We’re going to end up giving up a good player (to be named) to get him.
“Jose has been great with the idea of switching to second base. We have a group of players in our clubhouse that are really focused on being the best team possible and winning the World Series and Jose’s willingness to move to second base is another example of that.”
Donaldson, who spent the past three-plus seasons with the Blue Jays and as an AL rival of the Indians, is looking forward to seeing things form the other side.
“I was excited because of the fact of the players that you have in this clubhouse and how they’ve been able to have success throughout the years,” said Donaldson, who was a member of the Toronto team that lost to the Indians in the 2016 ALCS. “There’s a lot of quality players on this team and it’s not for me to come in and save the day. I’m here to help and facilitate and hopefully help these guys to continue to win like they have.
And I was also excited — if you go back and look at my numbers playing (at Progressive Field), they’re pretty nice. So I’m glad I’m going into a situation where I’ve had success here before.”
Donaldson owns a lifetime .269 average and .990 OPS at Progressive Field, where he’s hit seven homers and driven in 20 runs in 21 games. He homered in each game of a doubleheader in Cleveland on May 3.
Donaldson will be reunited with former Blue Jays teammate Edwin Encarnacion.
“It’s good,” he said. “Edwin was a close teammate of mine throughout the years. We’ve had a lot of fond memories together as teammates and I’m sure if you asked him as well, we’re excited about creating some new ones.”
Left-handed reliever Andrew Miller threw for the first time Sunday since being placed on the injured list last Monday with left shoulder bursitis. Miller played catch from about 75 feet out, according to Antonetti.
Miller, who has spent three stints on the DL and pitched in only 27 games, has made 10 appearances since May 25.
** Right-hander Neil Ramirez rejoined the bullpen following a 10-day stint on the injured list with lower-back spasms.
Ramirez (0-2, 4.59 ERA) made 17 straight scoreless appearances from May 28-July 6, but since then had allowed 13 runs and 14 hits (seven home runs) in his last 16 games (151⁄3 innings) through Saturday.
The pranks continued between Terry Francona and Rays manager Kevin Cash, a former Cleveland bullpen coach under Francona and good friend of the Indians’ manager.
Cash stole Francona’s dugout seat prior to the series opener Friday, then the Indians responded by posting a picture of Cash on the scoreboard, mocking his career .183 batting average.
Cash may have gotten the last laugh prior to the series finale Sunday, stealing Francona’s scooter and riding it onto the field, where he left it during pregame batting practice.
When asked how he got the scooter, Cash replied, “I have a lot of friends here, a lot of friends.”
The Indians wrap up the homestand with a three-game series against Kansas City that begins today at 4:10 p.m.
Adam Plutko (4-4, 4.94 ERA) opens the set, opposing right-hander Jakob Junis (7-12, 4.53), while Mike Clevinger (10-7, 3.17) starts Tuesday’s 7:10 p.m. game against lefty Danny Duffy (8-11, 4.72).
Corey Kluber goes for Cleveland in the series finale Wednesday at 1:10 p.m., while the Royals counter with right-hander Brad Keller (7-5, 3.26).
Indians relievers entered Sunday with a 3.60 ERA since the All-Star break, the fourth-lowest in the AL. Overall, the bullpen had allowed just 27.6 percent (54 of 196) of inherited runners to score, which ranked third in the AL through Saturday.
Oliver Perez had allowed only 3 of 36 (8.3 percent) inherited runners to score through Saturday — the top mark in the league. Perez worked his 12th consecutive scoreless outing Saturday and entered Sunday owning a 1.08 ERA over 40 appearances, which was the lowest among left-handed relievers and second-lowest overall in the majors behind Oakland’s Blake Treinen (0.94).
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