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When the Yankees acquired former MVP third baseman Josh Donaldson from the Twins Sunday night, it seemed fair to question how the 36-year-old and star pitcher Gerrit Cole would coexist.
Not even a year removed from Donaldson accusing Cole and others of cheating by using sticky substances on the mound, the two were now teammates in pinstripes. So in order to make sure any lingering issues between the two didn’t carry over to the Bronx, general manager Brian Cashman made sure to run the deal by Cole first.
“Because of how the public side of this thing played out last year … I owed him that phone call,’’ Cashman said Monday, via the New York Post. “I just explained, obviously, ‘We’ve got a transaction that’s going to solve a lot of areas of need, but not sure where this other aspect sits. If it is an issue, it’s something we’ll have to work through.’ He’s like, ‘I’ll be fine.’ He was excited about the opportunity to upgrade in a lot of areas.”
The deal, as Cashman said, was meant to make the Yankees a better ball club. And on New York’s end, sending third baseman Gio Urshela and catcher Gary Sanchez to Minnesota for Donaldson, shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa and backup catcher Ben Rortvedt accomplished just that.
But that doesn’t mean a conversation between Donaldson and Cole didn’t need to take place. In fact, Donaldson requested a meeting with Cole and manager Aaron Boone to clear the air.
“The three of us sat in my office for a while,” Boone said. “We had a frank dialogue. … I think it already is buried and a non-issue — not to say it wasn’t a real issue last year for us. I feel really good about those two guys.”
As for Donaldson’s issue with Cole at the time, the three-time All-Star said he put the situation in the rearview mirror once the MLB crackdown began. In June 2021, MLB implemented a foreign-substance ban, suspending players caught with banned substances for 10 days.
“First off, when I named Gerrit Cole as part of the thing, I said, ‘Look, he’s the first guy that’s pitched since [minor league] suspensions had been handed down,’ ” Donaldson said. “That was what I said about Gerrit Cole. I said I thought this was a league problem. I feel like the league has addressed the issues that were at hand.
“After that, you didn’t hear from me. Today, we’re sitting here and our goal is to win a championship with the New York Yankees.”
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