Yankees’ Donaldson jogs too early, and gets dumped near the HR center

Yankees' Donaldson jogs too early, and gets dumped near the HR center

New York (AFP) – Josh Donaldson didn’t run too hard. He didn’t answer questions about it either.

The Bazaar veteran started trotting his grounds too early – and his recent failure To hustle turned to embarrassment in the playoffs.

He led the New York Yankees’ fifth inning in the inaugural AL Division Series On Tuesday night, Donaldson sent a drive into the opposite field to the right against Cleveland writer Cal Quantrell with a 1-all tie.

Sure enough the ball would sweep across the short porch at Yankee Stadium, Donaldson put his head down and slapped his hands with first base coach Travis Chapman as he ran around the bag.

“I thought for sure it was a home run,” said teammate Anthony Rizzo.

Donaldson didn’t realize the ball was still in play. When a Yankees-wearing fan reached out to him, the ball bounced off the top of the fence straight back to rookie Oscar Gonzalez, who fired to hit Amed Rosario at second base.

By the time Donaldson looked at him, he was sandwiched between the first and the second. He tried to scramble back to the start, but Rosario threw 1st base officer Josh Naylor, who flagged Donaldson as he headed toward the sack.

“It’s not the fleet in feet. So we have to make sure we get where we need to get,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone.

A confused Donaldson pointed to the right field and spread his arms – but replays showed the ball never cleared the wall. A video review confirmed the call by right-court referee Mark Rieberger that it was not a home run and that the ball was still in play.

Donaldson was credited with one song.

After the Yankees’ victory, he was not available to reporters at the club.

“It’s so unique on a line like that. You kind of tire my body out,” Boone said.

“I haven’t seen the play yet because I’ve been getting out of some people’s way to see where – because I thought it was a bat-running house. So I should look at it a little better.”

This wasn’t the first time that Donaldson’s lack of grit had become an issue for the Yankees this year.

In his first season with the team after arriving from Minnesota on a March deal, the 2015 AL MVP failed to run hard on the ground in May — and Boone took notice.

“It’s possible that Donaldson pulled his eye on her for a second,” Boone said at the time. “Every now and then, you have to say something. I haven’t said anything yet.”

But on Sept. 5, 36-year-old Donaldson was tagged in second on one of the RBIs off the left field wall base. As if Donaldson thought he had given up, he slowly broke out of the box, and Aaron Judge scored in the play before Donaldson was singled out.

Boone pulled Donaldson aside and spoke to him.

Boone said he told Donaldson, “Let’s not let that happen.”

“I don’t really worry about him from the game or from the delivery point of view; the manager added. “Yeah, this is one of those, you have to make sure. It’s better to be sure.”

New York scored one in the fifth inning after Donaldson’s slip, and Rizzo Homer added a two-stroke in the sixth on his way to a 4-1 win.

“I’m glad it didn’t hurt us,” Boone said.

Game Two of the Top Five Series takes place Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.

Matt Bateman, a 44-year-old cheerleader from Brooklyn, was the man closest to Donaldson’s lead who got to the ball.

“It hit us straight,” Bateman said. “It looks like the ball hit the top of the wall. It hit my hand a bit too, like my fingertips, and it crumbled.”


Associated Press freelance writer Larry Fleischer contributed to this report.


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