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Saturday Bantering: Troy Tulowitzki, Josh Donaldson make return in 7-6 win

Your morning update for everything Blue Jays.

Texas Rangers v Toronto Blue Jays
Troy Tulowitzki makes the play and throws out the baserunner as Josh Donaldson turns away in the ninth inning of Toronto’s 7-6 win over the Rangers.
Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Blue Jays activated both Troy Tulowitzki and Josh Donaldson off of the disabled list yesterday, ending a long string of rehab stints and reported returns. Both players collected hits in the 7-6 Blue Jay win, and Tulowitzki took two walks, only being sent down once in his four plate appearances.

“[Donaldson and Tulowitzki] will both be activated today,” manager John Gibbons told MLB Network Radio prior to the game. “It’s been a long time coming, to be honest with you, and like I said earlier, the other guys that have stepped in have really done a great job, but if we’re going to do anything, we need [them] to be good.

“They’re feeling great, and early on, we’ll probably watch the amount of playing time they’re getting, until they get into high gear, but it’s definitely two welcome additions.”

Almost as if Gibbons knew what he was doing, the Blue Jays are, indeed, watching the playing time of Donaldson and Tulowitzki. With a day game after a night game today, they’ll get the day off, returning to the team on Sunday.

In a corresponding move, Cesar Valdez was optioned to triple-A Buffalo.

Another interesting tidbit of information: Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star tweeted that Gibbons “said he’s done with small-ball (except Carrera)” with Donaldson and Tulowitzki back. That is, suffice to say, very comforting. If the Blue Jays could avoid having a player who’s hit six doubles in his past three games bunting with two runners on and no outs, that’d be great.

Although no specifics have been set yet, the Blue Jays are “kicking around” the idea of having J.A. Happ start Tuesday against the Reds. He made a rehab start with the Dunedin Blue Jays on Thursday, giving up three earned runs in just over three innings of work. Ross Atkins said that he’d like to have Happ make two more rehab starts before he returns to the team, but that plan may no longer be accurate.

In other pitching injury news, Francisco Liriano will make a rehab start for triple-A Buffalo on Sunday, per Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.

Anthony Alford, who suffered a broken hamate bone while the Blue Jays were in Milwaukee, will visit hand specialist Dr. Donald Sheridan next week in Arizona, a team announcement stated. The Blue Jays added that surgery to repair the broken bone was likely. Ouch.

The Blue Jays beat their arch-nemesis Rangers last night, giving up three runs in the ninth but still holding on to the 7-6 win. Mike Bolsinger, perhaps making his last start before being optioned, gave up two earned runs over 4.2 innings. Devon Travis went 3-4 with a grand slam and double, continuing to impress. He now has 17 singles, 16 doubles and four home runs this season.

Even while playing perennial rivals, there wasn’t much in the way of drama in the game, aside from a chorus of boos on Rougned Odor.

Today, Toronto will face the Rangers for the second of three games with Marco Estrada on the mound. Estrada, in his last start, struck out a career-tying 12 batters and threw a season-high 115 pitches. Texas will start Yu Darvish, and in his last start against the Blue Jays, he gave up five runs in five innings in game two of the 2016 ALDS. In his past six starts, Darvish has given up 11 earned runs over 39.0 innings. He has a 2017 ERA of 2.83.

You can watch the game on Sportsnet, TVA Sports and MLB Network or listen to the game on Sportsnet 590.

Speaking of radio, Joe Siddall, back in the radio booth after a sequence of games with Buck Martinez on TV, made a play on a foul ball in yesterday’s game. Listen to the play yourself here.

In the press box, another foul ball disrupted day-to-day activities. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a former major league player to make the catch. This was the result:

Even if there was a major league player, they might have missed the ball, too. Take a look at this “diving catch” that Steven Souza Jr. made yesterday.

Okay, tangent over. Get on with your life and make something of your Saturday.

Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkColley.