Yankees’ Josh Donaldson may return in 2023: ‘Definitely a possibility’

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — At least publicly, the Yankees are leaving open the possibility of Josh Donaldson returning this season.

The 37-year-old third baseman, who is on the 60-day injured list with a calf strain, was moving around just fine on Friday at Tropicana Field while taking early batting practice and doing some defensive work.

He is not eligible to come off the IL until Sept. 15, and the Yankees are currently using third base to give Oswald Peraza some consistent playing time as they look toward the future with the playoffs being a long shot.

But when asked if he could see a scenario in which Donaldson was activated before the end of the season, Aaron Boone didn’t shoot it down.

“Yeah, he’s working towards a potential rehab assignment sometime soon,” the manager said before his Yankees opened a three-game series against the Rays with a 6-2 win. “It’s definitely a possibility.”

Josh Donaldson
Josh Donaldson
Robert Sabo for the New York Post

Donaldson is likely in his final weeks with the Yankees, who are expected to buy out his $6 million mutual option for 2024.

But the veteran has had a visible presence around the team in recent weeks, with his calf strain seemingly healing much quicker than expected.

“He’s getting close to being in a rehab situation and he’s doing all the work to put himself in that position,” Boone said.

Anthony Rizzo (post-concussion syndrome) continued to take batting practice on Friday and could advance to facing live pitching at some point in the next few days, Boone said.

Both the veteran first baseman and the Yankees believe it is beneficial for him to play again this season, if his health allows, even if the team has little to play for.

“But it’ll be determined based on his health and how he’s doing,” Boone said.

“If he’s not able to go, then yeah, we’ll start to prepare for next year. As of right now, we’re preparing with the hopes of getting him back.”

“We’re probably a week out from making a decision about doing some things,” Boone added.

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