Aaron Judge critical of Yankees teammate Josh Donaldson: ‘Not right thing to do there’

One-game penalty “incredibly disappointing and plain frustrating,” White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz said.

SHARE Aaron Judge critical of Yankees teammate Josh Donaldson: ‘Not right thing to do there’
The benches cleared at Yankee Stadium in a game between the Yankees and White Sox.

“Joke or not, I don’t think it’s the right thing to do there,” the Yankees’ Aaron Judge (center) said of teammate Josh Donaldson’s comment toward White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson.

Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Reaction to Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson receiving a one-game suspension and an undisclosed fine for his inappropriate comments toward White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson on Saturday was mixed after Major League Baseball announced the penalty Monday.

While Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Donaldson didn’t deserve it, Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz said Donaldson’s penalty was too light. Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge was critical of his teammate.

“Joke or not, I don’t think it’s the right thing to do there,” Judge said, making his first comments on the Anderson-Donaldson story after the Yankees’ 6-4 loss to the Orioles Monday night.

‘‘Just one game,’’ Katz wrote on his Twitter feed Monday. ‘‘We all saw his malice at third a week ago, then this comment with the ridiculous excuse that followed. What’s the point or message behind a 1-game suspension? This is incredibly disappointing and plain frustrating.’’

“I certainly respect MLB,” Boone said. “I think they were thoughtful and looked into it and did their due diligence on it and made what was a tough call. I don’t agree with it. I don’t think it warranted a suspension.”

In handing down the penalty, Michael Hill, MLB’s senior vice president for on-field operations, said, ‘‘There is no dispute over what was said on the field. Regardless of Mr. Donaldson’s intent, the comment he directed toward Mr. Anderson was disrespectful and in poor judgment, particularly when viewed in the context of their prior interactions.’’

Hill said Donaldson’s remarks contributed to a bench-clearing incident ‘‘and warrants discipline.’’

Multiple times during the Yankees 7-5 victory Saturday, Donaldson said, ‘‘What’s up, Jackie?’’ to Anderson. It was a reference to Jackie Robinson, who broke the MLB color barrier in 1947.

Donaldson also pushed Anderson off third base while making a tag during a game May 13 at Guaranteed Rate Field and had a spat with Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito last season.

With tensions mounting Saturday, the benches cleared during the fifth inning after Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal confronted Donaldson at home plate.

Anderson said Donaldson’s comment was ‘‘disrespectful’’ and ‘‘unnecessary.’’ Sox manager Tony La Russa called it racist. Donaldson said he was referring to a 2019 Sports Illustrated story in which Anderson referred to himself as ‘‘today’s Jackie Robinson.’’

“Given the history, especially the series in Chicago and the little bit of beef between Anderson and [Donaldson],” Judge said. “Anderson is one of the best shortstops in the game and is a big part of MLB and how we can grow the game. [Donaldson] getting a one-game suspension … I don’t know. He made a mistake, owned up to it and we’ve got to move on.” 

On Sunday, Boone said he didn’t believe there was malicious intent on Donaldson’s part but added, “This is just somewhere, in my opinion, he should not be going.”

Donaldson — who said he would appeal the suspension, delaying the discipline until the process is complete — also went on the COVID-19 injured list Monday, joining teammates Joey Gallo and Kyle Higashioka. Boone told reporters all three players are ‘‘more than just not feeling well; they feel sick.’’

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