Josh Donaldson reemerges to wish Yankees teammates would’ve backed him

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 22: Josh Donaldson #28 of the New York Yankees reacts after a hit during the eighth inning of Game One of a doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium on May 22, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 22: Josh Donaldson #28 of the New York Yankees reacts after a hit during the eighth inning of Game One of a doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium on May 22, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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After 10 days spent in the wilderness, Josh Donaldson somehow took center stage and held court with gathered members of the media prior to Wednesday’s rained-out Yankees-Angels contest. Donaldson went from being the most absent Yankee to the only Yankee for a bizarre stretch of time, and got to speak his mind regarding the aftermath of his racially-tinged chirp directed at Tim Anderson of the White Sox.

Anderson has since joined Donaldson on the IL, and talk of the incident largely calmed down … until Wednesday, that is, when the third baseman (battling shoulder stiffness, we’re told) was given a microphone.

Donaldson’s most recent game played came the day after his viral comment in one-half of a doubleheader against those same White Sox. Since then, he’s been placed on the COVID IL with non-COVID, been handed a one-game suspension, and been placed on the regular IL to rehab a shoulder issue that’s plagued him since Spring Training.

While it seemed at first that such wheelings and dealings might make the controversy disappear, weirdly it’s only made it feel as if the team has already moved on from Donaldson, even though he’s very likely to return quickly. His absence feels normal now, which is a problem considering how essential he was to the lineup in the early going.

After Donaldson’s disappearance, as well as Aaron Boone and Aaron Judge making statements that categorized him as in the wrong, the tenor of his tenure in the Bronx has certainly changed.

Donaldson didn’t take too kindly to the statements coming from the Yankees locker room apparently, either. On Wednesday, he noted that he was “hurt” when his teammates chose not to have his back (even though he, himself, put out an apology statement).

Josh Donaldson hurt no Yankees had his back after Tim Anderson comment

Quoth Donaldson:

"“I think that was tough to hear, for sure, just for the simple fact that I pride myself on being a good teammate, and everywhere I’ve went, every organization that I’ve been a part of, minus Oakland, has offered me extensions, has wanted me to stay back.“They’ve showed that they wanted me a part of their team. Obviously it didn’t work out that way. And that’s just the business end of it. And also everywhere I went, I’ve won. I think part of winning is having good team chemistry, and I’ve taken pride everywhere I’ve went I’ve aways tried to help people try to get better.”"

And, let the record state that if this team’s incredible chemistry is somehow harmed by Donaldson’s return, I will drink a bucket of paint.

Donaldson’s comments caused the first chasm in an otherwise perfect season, up to that moment. What could’ve been a negative inflection point — especially when paired with numerous injuries suffered around the same time — has turned into just a regrettable moment in time, as the Yankees have continued powerfully ahead.

Again, though, here’s Donaldson regurgitating things that we just … might not be able to leave behind. If he feels things weren’t handled properly in the public square, Matt Carpenter might become a lot more essential.

Donaldson’s media availability yesterday also shed light on his long-standing beef with White Sox closer Liam Hendriks, something he believes is all for show.

If Donaldson returns and produces, this bleak incident will go right back to being a blip on the radar.

If he doesn’t, though, we’ll know exactly where to turn to for blame if things go south.