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Josh Donaldson passes concussion protocol, will be re-evaluated Friday

TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays are facing the possibility that third baseman Josh Donaldson will not be available for Game 2 of the American League Division Series against the Texas Rangers after he took a knee to the head in Game 1, forcing his departure in the fifth inning of Thursday's 5-3 Blue Jays loss.

"Donaldson, he banged his head there, so he came out, precautionary -- they check for concussions, and he apparently passed all the tests, so that's good news,'' manager John Gibbons said. "We'll see how he is tomorrow."

Donaldson, attempting to break up a double play on a ground ball by Jose Bautista with runners on first and second in the fourth, popped up on his slide and caught a knee to the side of the head from Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor, who was not able to complete the double play.

Donaldson returned to his third-base position in the top of the fifth, throwing out Hanser Alberto on a ground ball for the final out of the inning, but he was replaced by a pinch hitter, Ezequiel Carrera, in the bottom of the inning. Cliff Pennington finished the game at third for the Jays.

"I think he got a little light-headed," Gibbons said. "Something wasn't right, but he did pass the test, so that's a good sign."

Donaldson did not speak to reporters afterward.

The loss of Donaldson, the team's putative most valuable player, would be a huge blow for the Blue Jays, who got another scare in the ninth inning, when Bautista, who homered in the sixth, came out of the game with what was described as a mild cramp in his right hamstring.

"His leg cramped up on him, hamstring, so he couldn't go," Gibbons said.

Bautista is expected to play Friday, the team said.

"I'm not Josh Donaldson's head. I don't know how he's feeling. I hope it's not too bad. He's as tough as they get. If he can play, he will play."
Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin

Donaldson has been credited for changing the Jays' clubhouse culture after his offseason trade from Oakland. He led the Jays in RBIs this season with 123 and hit 41 home runs with a .297 batting average. He and Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks tied for third in the majors in WAR at 8.8.

"I'm not Josh Donaldson's head," said catcher Russell Martin, when asked how concerned he was that Donaldson might not be able to play Friday. "I don't know how he's feeling. I hope it's not too bad. He's as tough as they get. If he can play, he will play."

David Price, who took the loss Thursday, addressed the same question.

"We have enough guys in our lineup to get past that," he said. "I talked to him as soon as I came out, and he said he felt a lot better at that time. The next couple of hours, I'm sure, will tell him a lot. If he's in the lineup tomorrow, that's great. If not, we still have a couple more guys who can drive the ball out of the yard."

The Jays and Rangers each lost their starting third baseman. Earlier, Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre left in the third inning with a strained back.