TORONTO â€” Josh Donaldson returned to the Blue Jays lineup Wednesday as designated hitter.
The star third baseman was restricted to pinch-hitting duty Tuesday in a 4-3 loss to Milwaukee due to calf tightness.
Donaldson was pulled from Sunday’s game in Tampa due to the calf problem.
“He should be able to play tonight, I don’t know how good he’ll be able to run,” said manager John Gibbons.
Kendrys Morales, who DH’d Tuesday, shifted to first base for Wednesday’s game against the Brewers and moved one spot down in the batting lineup to cleanup. Donaldson, who normally bats second, was inserted at No. 3, behind leadoff hitter Devon Travis and Jose Bautista.
Darwin Barney replaced Ryan Goins at third base. Steve Pearce remained in left field.
“We want to get him going,” Gibbons said of Pearce. “We brought him over here to hit so we want to make sure we string some games together to let him get going.”
The Jays, who set a franchise record-low for a season start when they slipped to 1-6 Tuesday, came into Wednesday’s game tied for 25th in the majors in run production with 23. Fifteen of those runs came in two games.
Toronto had 29 runs over the same period last season with a 3-4 record. In 2015, the 4-3 Jays had scored 39 runs in the first seven games.
Troy Tulowitzki and Morales accounted for all five Toronto hits in the home opener Tuesday.
“The other guys will get going,” said Gibbons. “Hopefully it will be tonight.”
Something a simple as a bloop hit or opposition error could help turn the tide, he suggested.
“It’s got to happen,” he said.
“It’s hard to hit,” he added. “And everybody goes through phases. Right now we have a bunch of guys that are cold. But for the most part, they’re all battling up there. Good intensity and they’re battling. That’s really all you can ask.”
Catcher Russell Martin went 0-for-18 in the first seven games, with seven strikeouts and six walks.
“He’s really focused but he’s a human being too,” Gibbons said. “Nobody wants to do better than him. I think his mind’s clear, he’s up there battling.”
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press