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” Saturday “delusional.”
Donaldson said it was an inside joke. The Sox viewed it as offensive, and the multiple exchanges between Donaldson and Anderson during the Yankees’ 7-5 victory resulted in a bench-clearing incident that is being investigated by Major League Baseball.
“Usually you have inside jokes with people you get along with, not people that don’t get along at all,” Hendriks said before the Sox and Yankees’ scheduled doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. “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.
“The fact 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, referencing 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.”
Sox manager Tony La Russa, who called Donaldson’s words “racist” Saturday, on Sunday said he wants to hear what the Yankees organization has to say about it.
“This is, just in my opinion, somewhere [Donaldson] should not be going,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Sunday.
“It’s not really important what I say here,” La Russa said. “I saw what Aaron 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.”
When Donaldson came to bat in the fifth inning, Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal went face to face, causing the benches and bullpens to empty.
To the Sox, what Donaldson said was no joke, inside or otherwise.
“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 the 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 today.”
La Russa removed Anderson from the Game 1 lineup (2:05 p.m., NBCSCH, 1000-AM), saying he didn’t want to overuse him. Yoan Moncada, who has been dealing with minor leg soreness, was added to the Game 1 lineup. Anderson will play Game 2 (6:08 p.m., ESPN, 1000-AM).
Boone, meanwhile, said Sunday the Yankees were “trying to do as much as we can to diffuse 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,” Boone said.
“When I first heard the name Jackie, I was really taken aback. Frankly, I was upset about it myself. When you hear the story of it — again, I don’t think [Donaldson] should say that even if there is a perceived relationship or whatever — but the original story of where it was born out of, and a few years of saying that, I’m less taken aback by it at that point. I sit here as a white guy and that it did change the context for me, I also understand how it can be offensive and upsetting. But since it was born out of that article, it does to me change the context.”