ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Josh Donaldson’s return to the Yankees has been delayed, now because of a 10-day IL stint due to right shoulder inflammation, the team announced Friday.
The third baseman had been on the COVID IL and still needs to have the appeal heard of his one-game suspension for calling White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson “Jackie” on more than one occasion in reference to Anderson referring to himself as the “new Jackie Robinson” in a 2019 Sports Illustrated article.
Donaldson released a statement on Thursday apologizing again to Anderson, as well as the family of Jackie Robinson.
Aaron Boone said Friday Donaldson underwent an MRI exam on the shoulder when he was at the Stadium Tuesday to get an IV for COVID-like symptoms.
Though Donaldson didn’t test positive for COVID, the MRI exam showed inflammation and he got a cortisone injection.
“It’s something he’s dealt with at different points in different seasons,’’ Boone said before the Yankees’ 2-0 win over the Rays. “He’s managed it this year already and done well. Hopefully the cortisone injection does its job and he gets through this.”
Donaldson was at the Stadium on Friday, doing some “light hitting,” according to Boone.
“He’s feeling better,’’ the manager said.
The Yankees can backdate the IL stint to May 24.
“Hopefully it’s something that’s a short thing and he can keep making improvements and it benefits him for the long haul,’’ Boone said.
Donaldson was 11-for-29 with a pair of doubles, three homers and seven RBIs over a seven-game stretch from May 12-18 before going hitless in his previous eight at-bats.
His defense has been solid throughout the season and the Yankees have used him conservatively defensively, frequently rotating him in as DH, with DJ LeMahieu getting time at third base.
With LeMahieu also out with a left wrist injury — although one that doesn’t seem now to be leading towards an IL stint — it’s left the Yankees’ infield short-handed.
Donaldson’s absence has led the Yankees to use Marwin Gonzalez at third base, with newly signed Matt Carpenter at DH.
Whenever Donaldson does return, he will have to deal with the ramifications of his spat with Anderson, although sources have said the Yankees don’t plan on issuing any further punishment and his teammates don’t need him to speak to them again — despite the differences between his version of his relationship with Anderson and the one that Anderson has.
Anderson made it clear there was no inside joke between the two, as Donaldson had initially said in explaining his actions, which led to multiple bench-clearing incidents the last two weeks between the Yankees and White Sox.
Donaldson was suspended for a game by MLB for “making inappropriate comments.”
He is appealing the decision.
On Thursday, Donaldson released a statement, apologizing to Anderson again, saying he “absolutely meant no disrespect” towards the shortstop and also apologized to “Mrs. Rachel Robinson and the Jackie Robinson family for any distress this incident may have caused.”
The Yankees traded for Donaldson during spring training in the deal that also brought Isiah Kiner-Falefa and catcher Ben Rortvedt from Minnesota in exchange for Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela.
Donaldson is owed $50 million over this year and 2023.