Yankees' Donaldson trots too soon, thrown out on near HR

Josh Donaldson went into a home run trot too soon, and his latest failure to hustle turned into an embarrassing out in the playoffs

Mike Fitzpatrick
Wednesday 12 October 2022 03:47 BST

Josh Donaldson went into a home run trot too soon — and his latest failure to hustle turned into an embarrassing out in the playoffs.

Leading off the fifth inning for the New York Yankees in their AL Division Series opener Tuesday night, Donaldson sent an opposite-field drive to right against Cleveland starter Cal Quantrill with the score tied 1-all.

Sure the ball would clear the short porch at Yankee Stadium, the veteran slugger put his head down and slapped hands with first base coach Travis Chapman as he jogged around the bag.

Little did Donaldson realize, the ball was still in play. As a fan in a Yankees jersey reached for it, the ball ricocheted off the top of the fence right back to rookie Óscar González, who alertly fired to shortstop Amed Rosario at second base.

By the time Donaldson looked up, he was trapped between first and second. He tried to scramble back to first, but Rosario threw to first baseman Josh Naylor, who tagged out Donaldson as he dove headfirst back toward the bag.

A confused Donaldson pointed toward right field and spread his arms — but replays showed the ball never cleared the wall. A video review confirmed the call by right field umpire Mark Ripperger that it was not a home run and the ball remained in play.

Donaldson was credited with a single.

It was hardly the first time Donaldson's lack of hustle became an issue for the Yankees this year.

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

“Donaldson probably took his eye off it for a second,” Boone said then. “Now and then, you’ve got to say something. I’ve not said something yet.”

But on Sept. 5, the 36-year-old Donaldson was tagged out at second on an RBI single off the base of the left field wall. Appearing to think he had homered, Donaldson broke slowly out of the box, and Aaron Judge scored on the play just before Donaldson was tagged out.

Boone pulled Donaldson aside and had a word with him.

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

“I don’t really worry about him from the game or hooked up standpoint; he’s locked in," the manager added. "Yeah, that’s one of those, you’ve got to make sure. You better be sure.”

New York scored a run in the fifth following Donaldson's gaffe, and Anthony Rizzo added a two-run homer in the sixth on the way to a 4-1 victory. Game 2 in the best-of-five series is Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.


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