GOODYEAR, Ariz. — When he met with the media Monday, Indians general manager Chris Antonetti seemed confident that the injury to third baseman Jason Donald’s left hand would not linger the rest of the spring.
Donald, who is nursing a bone bruise that has caused him to miss eight exhibition games, sounded far less certain.
“Honestly, I’m hoping it doesn’t (linger),” said Donald, who sustained the injury after being hit by a pitch March 5 against the White Sox. “I’m not trying to look past each day and getting it better. That’s all I can focus on. If I start thinking ahead about what’s going to happen, I’ll get too stressed out.
“I’m just trying to get it better each day and hoping that it feels better.”
Donald (.308 in six games) said he is scheduled to swing the bat Thursday with hopes of returning to the lineup Friday. Manager Manny Acta said Donald’s return might come only in the field as a defensive replacement.
The frontrunner to open the season as the starter at third base, Donald missed four games after being hit by the pitch, then returned for two games before being scratched and undergoing an MRI that revealed the bone bruise. He has missed the last three games.
If the injury does linger, the Indians would most likely turn to one of three candidates — Luis Valbuena, Jack Hannahan and Jayson Nix — to fill the vacancy, with top prospect Lonnie Chisenhall as an outside shot.
Grady Sizemore passed another test on his road to recovery from microfracture surgery on his left knee, running the bases for the second time Tuesday in Goodyear.
Sizemore is scheduled to run the bases once more Thursday or Friday and will attempt to slide for the first time at the end of the base running session. Sliding is how Sizemore sustained the injury in the final exhibition game last year.
Sizemore’s exhibition debut is expected to come sometime this weekend.
“If everything goes well, and it has been going extremely well, we’ll look at the 20th,” Acta said. “Seeing him shagging and chasing balls in the outfield has been very encouraging.”
It was a rough day for reliever Jensen Lewis, who allowed the Brewers to take a 7-6 lead in the seventh by allowing a pair of three-run homers.
The right-hander’s spot in the bullpen appeared secure, but Acta said that wasn’t the case.
“He is battling for a spot,” Acta said. “We made it clear at the start of camp that he had a leg up, but a leg up doesn’t mean you’re in.”
Lewis has allowed seven runs and 11 hits in five games (five innings).
Anthony Reyes made his exhibition debut and failed to last an inning after allowing two runs on a hit and a walk. The right-hander, who missed all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery, entered camp in the running for the fifth spot in the rotation before a setback ended the bid.
Outfielder Trevor Crowe (rotator cuff) has been running and playing catch and is expected to test his right shoulder by throwing at full steam before the week is complete.
The injury has taken Crowe out of the running for the extra outfield spot on the opening day roster, but the Indians are hoping the rehab plan they are on will suffice.
“I think we’re going to continue on the path we’re on,” said general manager Chris Antonetti. “If he fails to recover, then surgery is obviously an option.”
Crowe, 27, was a regular in the outfield last year, batting .251 with two homers and 36 RBIs in 111 games.
The Indians have their first and only off-day today.
Many of the players will take advantage of the wealth of golf courses in Arizona, but not reliever Frank Herrmann.
“I have no plans,” Herrmann said. “I’m keeping it completely wide open. I got my wife and my dog here and I just had my in-laws here, so I’ve been doing stuff. So, (today) is a sit by the pool and relax kind of day.”
Unlike Herrmann, Acta has plans.
“I’m going to sleep in until 10 a.m., if I can,” he said, “then, I’m going golfing.”
Fifth starter candidate Josh Tomlin will pitch in a minor league camp game today in Goodyear. … Members of the Midwest League champion Class A Lake County Captains were honored prior to the game. It was the first minor league title for Lake County in its inaugural season in the ML. … The Indians resume their Cactus League schedule Thursday against the Reds at Goodyear Ballpark (4:05, no television or radio). Fausto Carmona (3-1, 5.25) vs. Mike Leake (0-0, 9.00).
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or firstname.lastname@example.org.