NEW YORK — White Sox closer Liam Hendriks didn’t mince words, blasting Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson’s explanation for calling Sox shortstop Tim Anderson “Jackie” the day before as “delusional.”
Donaldson said his goading of Anderson was an “inside joke.” Manager Tony La Russa said it was “racist” and nothing of the sort. Anderson and his teammates viewed it as offensive, and the exchanges between Donaldson and Anderson during the Yankees’ 7-5 victory Saturday resulted in a bench-clearing incident that is being investigated by MLB.
“Usually you have inside jokes with people you get along with, not people that don’t get along at all,” Hendriks said Sunday. “So that statement right there was complete bull. Then again, my feelings toward the individual in question are pretty well documented in the fact that we don’t get along.”
Hendriks and Donaldson were teammates with the Blue Jays in 2015.
“I have now spoken to four separate clubhouses he’s been in, and, as a whole, none of them get along,’’ Hendriks said. ‘‘So trying to whip out that narrative is complete and utter bull.”
Donaldson said Saturday that he has called Anderson “Jackie” in the past in reference to Anderson saying in 2019, “I kind of feel like today’s Jackie Robinson.”
“Obviously, he deemed that it was disrespectful,” Donaldson said. “Look, if he did, I apologize. There was no meaning by me saying that to him other than he’s called himself that. That’s it.”
La Russa wants to hear what the Yankees’ organization has to say about it.
“It’s not really important what I say here,” La Russa said. “I saw what [Yanks manager] Aaron [Boone] said; he’s between a rock and a hard place there. I know him, I know his family and I know he doesn’t approve. But I’m really waiting to hear what the Yankees say. I know what they represent, right? ‘God Bless America,’ seventh inning. So I’m waiting to hear what they say.”
“This is just, in my opinion, somewhere [Donaldson] should not be going,” Boone said.
What Donaldson said was beyond Hendriks’ comprehension.
“I don’t understand how he ever thought about it like that; it’s just straight delusional,” Hendriks said.
“A couple of our guys made sure a couple of their guys in their clubhouse knew exactly what was going on. So whether it’s an internal thing that has to happen on their side or what, today we show up and do what we came here to do. We have a chance to win two games at Yankee Stadium, and that’s what we plan to do.”
Boone, meanwhile, said the Yankees were “trying to do as much as we can to defuse it and just play ball. I talked with JD and a few other players to address this and get to the bottom of this, get the context and the history of this. When I first heard the name Jackie, I was really taken aback. Frankly, I was upset about it myself.”
While Hendriks spoke Sunday, Anderson and catcher Yasmani Grandal, whose confrontation at home plate with Donaldson started the non-violent bench-clearing, stood by their comments Saturday and were unavailable before Game 1 of a doubleheader, which Hendriks finished by getting his 13th save with a perfect inning in a 3-1 victory.
“I’m really happy with [Grandal’s] decision to confront him at the plate,” Hendriks said. “That shows how strong this clubhouse is. That shows the brotherhood in this clubhouse that we have going on. We’re going to go to bat for everyone in this clubhouse, no matter who they are, no matter what’s going on. We’re going to take care of them.
“Tony wears the shirt that says ‘Family’ every single day, and that’s what it is, a family. We take care of our own, and if something happens that we don’t think is right, we’re going to speak up.”