Donaldson and Cole meet for first time as Yankees' teammates
Josh Donaldson called out new teammate Gerrit Cole last season for possible use of unauthorized grip aides but both now say they are united on bringing the New York Yankees their first World Series title since 2009.
The Yankees acquired Donaldson, shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa and backup catcher Ben Rortvedt from the Minnesota Twins on Sunday night for catcher Gary Sánchez and third baseman Gio Urshela,
Donaldson suggested last June that Cole, the Yankees ace, had been trying to hide the use of the grip aides.
The 2015 AL MVP and Cole met with New York manager Aaron Boone before the Yankees' first spring training workout Monday.
“In the end, I think it's going to be a non-issue,' Boone said. “I think it already is buried and a non-issue, not to say it wasn't a real issue last year for us. But I feel really good about those two guys, and I think both those guys understand the clubhouse culture we try and create."
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman called Cole before the trade was announced, saying he owed him the call after last year's talk. Cole called the conversion with Donaldson “productive.”
“If you're committed to winning a championship, this kind of stuff doesn't matter,” Cole said. “I don't think there was anything that needed to really be squared away, Just a little bit of listening from both sides, and getting to know a new teammate.”
Donaldson said it was a good session.
“We were just having a conversion because obviously there was a big stink that was made out of it last year, right?” Donaldson said. “I think both sides wanted to be able to meet and address the issue that was at hand as far as just hearing one another, and ultimately leading us back to our goals. Our goal is to win. Both of us are in the same clubhouse now, and that's what we're going to do."
“At the end of the day, we're here to play baseball,” Donaldson added. “That's the only reason why we're in that clubhouse.”
Kiner-Falefa, who turns 27 on March 23, and Donaldson will anchor the left side of the infield. Kyle Higashioka and Rortvedt could be the catching combo.
“We feel by doing this trade that we've upgraded defensively and offensively at third, defensively at shortstop, and improved the defense on the catching side as well,” Cashman said.
New York was looking to add a shortstop after shifting Gleyber Torres to second base on Sept. 13 for the remainder of the season.
Boone said as of right now Luke Voit is the starting first baseman, while DJ LeMahieu will play first, second and third.