Major League Baseball suspended New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson for one game for “inappropriate comments” made to Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson on Saturday.
Donaldson, who was also fined an undisclosed amount, is appealing the penalty, MLB announced Monday. He will be able to play for the Yankees until the appeal process is complete. Shortly before the suspension was announced, the Yankees said Donaldson had been placed on the COVID-19 injured reserve.
“MLB has completed the discussion process with those involved in this incident,” Michael Hill, MLB’s senior vice president for field operations, said in a statement. “There is no dispute about what was said on the pitch. Regardless of Mr. Donaldson’s intent, the comment he made to Mr. Anderson was disrespectful and showed a lack of judgement, especially when considered in the context of their prior interactions.Furthermore, Mr. Donaldson’s remark was a contributing factor to a bench clearance incident between the teams and warrants discipline.
White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz didn’t think the penalty was enough.
“Just one game. We all saw his naughtiness in the third tier a week ago and then that comment with the ridiculous excuse that followed. What’s the point or the message behind a one-game suspension? is incredibly disappointing and just plain frustrating,” Katz said. tweeted.
Donaldson after Saturday’s game admitted calling Anderson “Jackie” — a reference to Jackie Robinson, who broke the MLB color barrier in 1947 — during the first inning. The Yankees third baseman apologized, saying he meant no disrespect.
But Anderson, who is black, said on Saturday he was offended by Donaldson’s comment, calling it “disrespectful” and “unhelpful”. White Sox manager Tony La Russa said on Saturday he thought Donaldson’s comment was “racist”.
Donaldson, who is white, said the “Jackie” comment referred to a 2019 interview with Sports Illustrated in which Anderson described himself as feeling like “today’s Jackie Robinson” in the way he “gets to a point where I have to change the game.” Donaldson said it was a reference he had “joked” with Anderson about in the past.
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge said Donaldson made “a mistake.”
“You know, kidding or not… I just don’t think it’s the right thing to do there, especially given the history, especially the show in Chicago, kind of a little beef between JD and Anderson is one of the best shortstops in the game and a big part of MLB and what’s going on here and how we can grow the game,” Judge said.
“JD, for that one game suspension, yeah I don’t know. JD made a mistake and admitted it and now we have to move on,” he said.
Judge, who leads the Majors with 17 home runs after hitting two more Monday night in a 6-4 loss to Baltimore, said Donaldson spoke to the team after the incident.
“JD is a pro. So he talked to all of us and explained what he was referring to about, I guess, a 2019 interview that TA did,” he said. “But I still don’t think it’s the right decision at all.”
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he disagreed with MLB’s decision.
“I think they were thoughtful and did their due diligence on this and made a tough decision. I disagree with that. I don’t think it warranted a suspension, but I certainly respect their process,” he said.
The American League East leaders Yankees travel to Tampa Bay for a four-game series starting Thursday following their three-game series in Baltimore.
Donaldson had faced the White Sox several times before this weekend.
The benches also emptied on May 13 after Anderson pushed Donaldson following a hard tag in Chicago. White Sox ace Lucas Giolito used an expletive when calling Donaldson a “destroyer” last year after the third baseman appeared to yell “Tackier!” use sticky substances on baseballs.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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