Yangervis Solarte’s career has been marked by both professional setbacks and personal tragedy, as Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi details in a profile of the Blue Jays infielder. A lightly-regarded prospect growing up in Venezuela, Solarte was close to giving up on his baseball dreams before signing with the Twins in 2005. Davidi’s piece details Solarte’s long path to becoming a big league regular, as well as the unimaginable burden Solarte had to face when his wife Yuliett passed away due to cancer in September 2016. Though it all, Solarte has continued to be an energetic figure on the field and become an increasingly important piece of Toronto’s everyday lineup.
Here are some more items from around the AL East…
- Blue Jays skipper John Gibbons told Sportsnet’s Hazel Mae (Twitter link) and other reporters that Josh Donaldson could potentially return from the DL on Friday when the team begins a series in Tampa Bay. Donaldson began his rehab assignment today, going 0-for-3 for Toronto’s high-A ball affiliate. Donaldson played as a DH today, so he has yet to test his ailing shoulder in a game situation by throwing from third base.
- Mark Trumbo is slated to be activated from the DL on Tuesday, with the Orioles already optioning Joey Rickard back to Triple-A today to create roster space. Trumbo will be making his season debut after missing six weeks with a quad strain, with the slugger looking to personally rebound from a poor 2017 season and also add some pop to an Orioles lineup that has struggled to score runs this year. The O’s figure to use Trumbo as a right-handed hitting complement at first base, DH, and right field, as those positions are respectively occupied by lefty-swingers Chris Davis and Pedro Alvarez, and switch-hitter Anthony Santander. Manager Buck Showalter also told media (including BaltimoreBaseball.com’s Dan Connolly) that Luis Sardinas will be placed on the 10-day DL due to a bad back, and Engelb Vielma looks to be the likeliest candidate to replace Sardinas as the utility infielder.
- Red Sox manager Alex Cora provided some updates (to MLB.com’s Ian Browne and other reporters) about some injury situations, including Mookie Betts’ day-to-day status with right hamstring tightness. Betts didn’t play on Sunday as the Sox are being cautious with their superstar: “If this game is September, October, November, I guarantee he’d play, but we have to take care of him,” Cora said. As for other sidelined Sox players, Dustin Pedroia is begun play in extended Spring Training games as the second baseman continues his rehab from knee surgery last October. Tyler Thornburg is also beginning a Triple-A rehab assignment on Monday, which will be his first taste of game action at any level after missing all of 2017 due to shoulder problems that resulted in thoracic outlet surgery. Given the extended layoff, Browne thinks Thornburg’s rehab assignment could last for the maximum 30 days as the right-hander gets himself back into game shape.