Nearly a year after the Toronto Blue Jays traded away Josh Donaldson, the former MVP made his return to the city as a member of the Atlanta Braves.
Donaldson, a key component of the Blue Jays teams that made the 2015 and 2016 ALCS, was traded to the Cleveland Indians on August 31, and on Tuesday night fans got a chance to show their appreciation for the four seasons he spent in the city.
The Braves slugger received an ovation from fans after the team played a video tribute on the jumbotron prior to first pitch to acknowledge his return.
He received another rousing round of applause before his first at-bat, and once again tipped his helmet to the supportive crowd rising to their feet.
Prior to the game, Donaldson spoke to the feeling of being honoured by his former team.
"It's kind of hard to talk about what's going to happen,” he told reporters. “There've definitely been some emotional times in my career here. To see it on the video board I'm sure will bring some kind of emotion."
There are sections of fans that are still a little upset about how quickly the successes of those playoff runs have been wiped away, a sentiment that Donaldson can understand.
"I think if I was a fan looking at, I had 15, 16, and even 17 I put some pretty good years out there and I felt like no matter what I tried to leave it all on the field,” he said to reporters before the game. “I played as hard as I could. I brought excitement and got pleasure from being out here everyday. I hope that's what people remember me for."
With the Toronto chapter of his career officially closed, it appears Donaldson will once again be heading back to the playoffs as a member of the Braves. After a pair of injury-plagued seasons with the Blue Jays he has bounced back in a big way, providing 32 home runs and driving in 76 while maintaining a .262/.377/.534 line in 129 games.
He signed a one-year, $23-million deal with the Braves this past off-season, and appears to be headed towards free agency once again this fall.
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