Opposing teams often pitch Josh Donaldson high and tight, and given that an errant 87-mph change-up from Kansas City Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera struck him on the left side of the face last Aug. 5, he understandably concluded it was better to be safe than sorry.

That’s why when the Toronto Blue Jays third baseman returned from the disabled list, he did so with a protective plastic flap attached to his batting helmet.

“Guys are throwing too hard,” Donaldson said after Friday night’s 7-6 win over the Texas Rangers. “It’s a part of the game, but I feel like there are a lot of balls that get lost up and in on me, so it’s just one more thing that can protect my face.”

Donaldson got lucky last year in Kansas City, as Herrera’s pitch caught some of the ear flap on his batting helmet before clipping him in the jaw, absorbing some of the impact from a frightening blow. He’d also been hit in the head by pitches in the minor-leagues during his ascent to the majors.

“When you start dealing with head things – and I’ve been hit in the head a couple of times – it’s not very fun to have to go through that,” said Donaldson. “If there’s some protection out there why not use it?”

Finding ways to protect the troublesome right calf that cost him 38 games on the disabled list will be less straightforward for Donaldson, although he has a plan on that front, too.