Josh Donaldson Yankees
Tommy Gilligan | USA TODAY Sports

Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson has issued a second apology for last weekend’s altercation with White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson.

Donaldson calls the incident — he called Anderson “Jackie,” a comment White Sox manager Tony LaRussa alleged was racist — a “misunderstanding based on multiple exchanges between us over the years” and that he now has a “mutual understanding” with Anderson.

Donaldson also said he has the “utmost respect” for Anderson and apologized to Jackie Robinson’s widow, Rachel, and his family. Donaldson has said his comments were a reference to a 2019 interview where Anderson compared himself to Robinson.

Donaldson’s statement in full (via MLB.com):

First and foremost, I have the utmost respect for what Tim Anderson brings to the game of baseball. I stated over the weekend that I apologized for offending Tim and that it was a misunderstanding based on multiple exchanges between us over the years. My view of that exchange hasn’t changed and I absolutely meant no disrespect. In the past, it had never been an issue and now that it is, we have a mutual understanding.

I would also like to apologize to Mrs. Rachel Robinson and the Jackie Robinson family for any distress this incident may have caused. Jackie was a true American hero and I hold his name in the highest regard.


A question and a thought:

Is Donaldson still appealing the one-game suspension and fine MLB handed down for the incident? If he is, this apology is going to ring pretty hollow.

Also: Donaldson is currently on the COVID-19 injured list. This story has continued to have life without him in the clubhouse — a clubhouse where he is likely not very popular at the moment. And when he comes back, the heat is only going to ratchet up further. Maybe that will be the natural end of the saga, but that is far from a given.

Trading for Donaldson and his baggage was a calculated risk by general manager Brian Cashman to give the Yankees a bit more edge. But it’s starting to look like the reward may not be there. The seventh team may not be the charm to moderate Donaldson’s worst tendencies. And the current state of affairs may not be terribly sustainable. That said, are the Yankees willing to do — and pay — what it takes to fix the situation if it gets dire enough?

James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]

 

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.