Josh Donaldson was warned.
The Yankees third baseman claimed he jokingly called White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson ‘Jackie’ in the past, and Anderson acknowledged that Tuesday. But Anderson insists Donaldson’s taunting wasn’t taken in a joking manner.
“In 2019, I know he did say that,” Anderson said before the Sox opened a three-game series against the Red Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field, talking about the Saturday verbal exchanges that turned into a benches clearing melee. “I told him that we don’t ever have to talk again. And I won’t speak to you, you won’t speak to me if that’s how you’re gonna refer to me. And I know he knew exactly what he was doing.”
Donaldson, who was handed a one-game suspension from Major League Baseball Monday for sparking Saturday’s incident, explained what he said was “an inside joke” about Anderson referring to himself “today’s Jackie Robinson” in a 2019 Sports Illustrated article.
“Two, three years, don’t say nothing to me because I already addressed it,” Anderson said.
But when Donaldson pushed Anderson off third base on May 13, “he felt the need to say it again,” Anderson said. “But he’s trying to provoke me.”
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn praised Anderson’s teammates for their support of the shortstop.
“That was remarkable and something this organization, players and staff, should be very proud of,” Hahn said. “Our focus is now on trying to find a way to beat the Red Sox, who come in here extremely hot and we hope to be able to cool them off here over the next few days.”
Anderson said he didn’t care that Donaldson’s suspension was only one game. Donaldson is appealing.
He said he felt the love from his teammates.
“It’s been nothing but love from my teammates, from the coaching staff, from the organization,’ he said. “I can say that things got handled the right way and I feel the support, I feel the love and I appreciate that for sure.”
Whether the incident ignites the Sox, who swept a doubleheader from the Yankees Sunday capped by Anderson’s dramatic three-run homer, remains to be soon.
“Hopefully we keep the good energy going,” Anderson said.
Said manager Tony La Russa: “If you need bulletin board material then you have issues. And if that’s what gets you there, it’s short-lived. You should question your club’s commitment. …I know how this club competes so we don’t need that.
“We have enough trying to figure out how we’re going to slow Boston down. I know our players, coaches and myself have already stated our support for Tim in that situation, what else can I add to it? There is nothing to add.”