Yankees’ Josh Donaldson accused of racial comment against Chicago shortstop Tim Anderson

josh donaldson, yankees

The New York Yankees might have emerged victorious against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday afternoon, but a stain was left after a benches clearing situation mid-game.

Third baseman Josh Donaldson and the Chicago shortstop Tim Anderson have been going back-and-forth for the past few games, but things came to a head when Chicago catcher Yasmani Grandal began a heated conversation with the Yankees infielder at home plate.

“What sparked it is the comment he made,” Grandal said, via the NY Post. “This game went through a period of time where a lot of those comments were made and I think we’re way past that. It’s just unacceptable. I just thought it was a low blow, and I want to make sure I got my team’s back. There’s no way you’re allowed to say something like that.”

Grandal and Anderson claimed that Josh Donaldson made a racial comment, calling the Chicago shortstop “Jackie.”

“He just made a disrespectful comment. He was trying to call me Jackie Robinson, ‘What’s up Jackie?’ ” Anderson, said. “I don’t play like that. … That happened the first time he got on, and I let it go that time, and it happened again. It’s just uncalled for.

Anderson has called himself “Jackie Robinson” in the past, so it seems as if Donaldson was poking fun. However, this is undoubtedly a touchy subject that can be perceived in different ways. Donaldson doesn’t believe he did anything wrong, claiming he was simply joking about Anderson’s own assessment.

“I called him Jackie. He came out with an interview that says he’s the new Jackie Robinson … We’ve actually joked about that,” Donaldson said. “I’ve said it to him in years past, not in any manner [other] than just joking around.”

The Yankees are preparing to take on Chicago in a doubleheader on Sunday, so this will be a scenario to keep an eye on, especially if Donaldson and Anderson get into a confrontation.

New York Giants: Could rookie Joshua Ezeudu steal the starting left guard position?

joshua ezeudu, new york giants

The New York Giants have a position battle brewing this summer. There are a number of players contending for the starting left guard position. As OTA’s kicked off, the Giants gave a first glance at their starting offensive line during team drills. Thus far, Shane Lemieux has been penciled in as the starting left guard. But is this a position that rookie third-round pick Joshua Ezeudu could steal?

Joshua Ezeudu could compete for the starting position. However, Shane Lemieux and Max Garcia are two established veterans that are also vying for the first team. Despite the experience and credibility of those two players, the talent that Ezeudu possesses is undeniable. Joshua is a raw prospect that needs development, but he could sneak his way into the starting lineup with a successful summer of practices.

Could Joshua Ezeudu be the Giants’ starting left guard in 2022?

With the 67th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected UNC offensive guard Joshua Ezeudu. This was the second offensive lineman taken by the Giants in this year’s draft after they landed Evan Neal in the first round. Ezeudu differs from Neal in position, though. Drafting Evan Neal solidified the right tackle position for the Giants and drafting Joshua Ezeudu provided the Giants with a talent to develop at left guard.

Joshua Ezeudu is described by The Draft Network as, “an aggressive blocker that has ideal temperament in the run game.” They add that he “does well to frame blocks, stay square and absorb power” in pass protection. TDN believes that Ezeudu will be a versatile backup as a rookie but has the upside to turn into a starter as early as his second or third season.

While that very well could be the case for Ezeudu, there is also a possibility he wins a starting job this summer. Neither Max Garcia nor Shane Lemieux are lock-in starters at this point. Joshua Ezeudu gave up a total of 32 pressures and 2 sacks in his four-year career (PFF). He showed flashes in pass protection but really excelled as a run-blocker.

Joshua Ezeudu posted a 83.0 run blocking grade in 2021 (3rd among ACC Guards) per PFF. On tape, Ezeudu has quick feet and a strong upper body that turns him into a people-mover in the running game. Refinement is needed, but do not count Joshua Ezeudu out of the race just yet. With a summer of strong practices, the New York Giants’ third-round pick could find himself in a starting position.

Good news and bad news as Yankees fend off Chicago in Saturday win

nestor cortes, yankees

On Saturday afternoon, the New York Yankees faced off against the Chicago White Sox. With the sun beating down on Yankee Stadium and the ball slippery as sweat dripped down the pitchers’ arms, the Bombers narrowly managed to escape a surging Chicago team that mounted their best attempt at a comeback.

The Yankees tallied seven runs in the win, thanks to a DJ LeMahieu Grand Slam in the 2nd inning, driving in Gleyber Torres, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Aaron Hicks. However, things quickly became murky when Nestor Cortes threw one poorly located pitch. A 3-run homer by Jose Abreu drew the Sox within two runs, providing a bit of hope.

Good news and bad news in Yankees’ win over Chicago:

Offensively, the Yankees performed well, striking out only three times. The White Sox struck out 14 times, but the Yankees’ eight hits powered them to victory. Giancarlo Stanton had a phenomenal performance, recording three hits on four at-bats. He raised his batting average to .309 on the season with a .357 on-base percentage.

Stanton has been absolutely electric in the month of May, hitting .333 with a 41.8% on base rate and 1.155 OPS. Over his last eight games, Stanton has recorded 14 hits and four home runs.

The most exciting moment of the game was when Josh Donaldson and Chicago shortstop Tim Anderson began jawing at one another, escalating a previous altercation. The benches cleared with Anderson trying to get a piece of Donaldson before the two teams simmered down and finished the game without any more hostility.

This is a situation that has been developing for a few weeks, so we should keep an eye on it as the series continues during Sunday’s doubleheader.

As for the Yankees pitching, Nestor Cortes once again posted another successful outing. Over 5.0 innings, he struck out seven batters, allowing three runs and six hits. He tallied 100 total pitches, 69 of them being strikes. Cortes features a 1.80 ERA on the year, and while this is one of his worst performances, it was still plenty good enough to propel the Yankees to victory.

However, bullpen ace Michael King gave up two earned runs and three hits in just one inning of action. The rest of the bullpen performed well, but King recorded an anomaly, having taken a significant step forward with his development this year.

Yankees’ star reliever describes pitching mentality: “When I’m on the mound, I want to be a dog”

New York Yankees, Michael King

After finishing last season with a 3.55 ERA and a 22.5 percent strikeout rate, Yankees’ reliever Michael King has taken a huge step forward as a multi-inning relief weapon. Before Saturday’s game, he boasted a fantastic 1.40 ERA in 25.2 innings, with a much improved 39.4 percent strikeout rate.

In a conversation with the New York Post, the Yankees’ relief ace talked about his mentality on the mound and lots of other things.

“I definitely try to get a totally different personality. I generally think I’m a nice guy, very smiley, I love to laugh. But when I’m on the mound I want to be a dog. I want to make sure that the hitter knows my presence and sees my confidence, ’cause I always say that a hitter can smell blood in the water. And if he sees any doubt in my mind, I think he already has me, so I want to make sure that he doesn’t see that doubt,” he stated.

The Yankees’right-hander, who started to show some signs of improvement in 2021, said that the 2020 campaign taught him a lot.

“My whole 2020 season, that COVID year, it was a very tough year for me. I felt like I got too mental where I was trying to make adjustments every game, and I never once just went out there and had that aggressive mentality, and it’s not fun to pitch in because you’re facing the best hitters in baseball, and I’m up there thinking about my mechanics or thinking about how I have to be sooo perfect on this pitch instead of just attacking with conviction,” he explained. It seems that it took some time for him to trust his mechanics, but his work is now paying off.

The Yankees gave him the resources and he made the most of them

He credits the improvement of his slider as the most important development behind his breakout performance.

“Working with [Corey] Kluber last year and him noticing that we had a very similar arm slot, I felt like I made huge improvements on the horizontal movement of that. And then this year I’m just focusing on the command of it and be able to throw backdoor, down and away for a strike to a righty, throw it back foot to a lefty, expand it away to a righty. Last year I just kind of ripped it and it had good movement, now I’m trying to rip it in locations.”

Thanks to pitching coach Matt Blake, Kluber, and King’s own desire to improve, the Yankees now have an elite relief arm missing bats like never before.

Yankees confirm starting pitcher will undergo Tommy John surgery

luis gil, yankees

This week, the New York Yankees suffered a big starting pitching depth injury when Luis Gil left a game against Worcester in Triple-A holding his elbow.

Gil was considered the first alternate for the Yankees’ starting rotation, and with a long season ahead, they would’ve required his services down the road. However, Gil will miss the remainder of the season, needing Tommy John surgery.

This year, the 23-year-old starter made one appearance for the Yankees, giving up four runs and five hits over 4.0 innings. Luckily, the Yankees scored 15 runs against the Chicago White Sox that day, helping him over the hump.

With Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Gil hosts a 7.89 ERA over 21.2 innings. Unfortunately, he has struggled with his location this season, despite having top-end velocity.

This is a significant blow to Luis’s development and progress, but if there’s anyone that can vouch for a successful rehabilitation coming off Tommy John, it is Luis Severino. Severino is fresh off Tommy John surgery for the second time, and he’s having a solid 2022 season, earning a 3.63 ERA over 34.2 innings pitched.

How can the Yankees replace Gil in the rotation?

The Yankees might consider elevating Michael King from the bullpen to replace Gil at the back end of the rotation. This season, King has been dominant in a relief role, earning a 1.40 ERA with 12.97 strikeouts per nine. His vast array of pitches and great location has propelled him to another level, Yankees might need him to help supplement fatigue moving forward.

There’s always a possibility that general manager Brian Cashman looks to the trade market for a potential substitute. The most efficient method would likely be to elevate King to a starting role when needed and trade for another bullpen arm who can help supplement him splitting time.

With Chad Green suffering an elbow strain this week, the Yankees need to be extremely careful how they handle the situation.

Yankees monster international prospect looking ‘fantastic’, featuring 5-tool potential

roderick arias, yankees

The New York Yankees have really stepped up their effort to land star international prospects the past few seasons. Ranging from Jasson Dominguez to Roderick Arias, the Bombers are in a good spot developing 5-tool players. All of them have tremendous potential if developed properly.

The most recent acquisition, Arias, signed a $4 million deal out of the Dominican Republic in January. He stands out among the biggest names in the farm system, and he’s just getting ready to start his professional career in the minor leagues.

“We identified Arias as a premium follow, and then we kept following him and following him, and his tools got better and better and better,” International scout Donny Rowland told NJ Advance Media in a phone interview. “He evolved to the point where you’re talking about a plus-plus arm, a plus defender, a plus swing from both sides and emerging power with exit velos up to 106.”

Per MLB.com, Roderick Arias is the top-rated international player from the 2021-22 class:

MLB Pipeline’s top-rated prospect in the 2021-22 international class, Arias signed for $4 million out of the Dominican Republic in January. He added to the greatest position of strength in a Yankees system headlined by standout shortstops Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza. He has the potential for at least solid tools across the board and could be significantly better than that if he reaches his ceiling.

The Yankees are a breeding ground for shortstops:

At just 17 years old, Arias is a switch hitter that plays shortstop. The Yankees have been developing a ton of quality shortstops from a young age, including Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe.

Arias is dealing with a minor injury that has kept him from starting the 2022 season, but luckily it is nothing major, and he should be ready to go soon.

“It’s nothing major,” Rowland said. “Everything with Arias is fine except for this little tweak he’s got going on, but things can linger.”

Otherwise, Roderick has looked phenomenal in his growth and development behind the scenes, now, he just needs to put it on the baseball diamond.

“Arias has looked fantastic,” Rowland said. “The last time I talked to our player development people down here in the D.R., the only thing they said to me is ‘special talent, special talent, special talent.”

We’ve seen plenty of big names fail to live up to their potential in the past, but the Yankees have Arias at such a young age with plenty of time to continue his development. At 6’2″ and 178 pounds already, he could climb his way through the minors quickly with enough reps.

Giants’ OL coach Bobby Johnson details players with ‘PTSD’ from former coaching staff

bobby johnson, giants

Reflecting on past coaching philosophies and methods will bring up some bad memories for New York Giants players. Extreme physical consequences and lap running were a part of Joe Judge’s disciplinary style. That was meant to hold each individual accountable for their actions. However, it ended up rubbing a lot of the coaches and players the wrong way.

That specific method wasn’t the only negative philosophy used in the previous regime. In fact, new offensive line coach Bobby Johnson indicated that he is still seeing “PTSD” and poor identity constructs that have impacted the players’ ability to develop and grow in the NFL.

“Those are all extreme words,’’ Johnson said Thursday, per the New York Post. “I would say this: I did notice a sense of, in this profession whether you’re a coach or a player you have things that we call scar tissue or, not to make light of the situation, some PTSD over things that have happened to you that shape your identity or shape your philosophy, and there’s some guys I’ve interacted with that have had that, because of things that have happened in the recent past.’’

The Giants have plenty of scar tissue after years of inept and disruptive decision-making from the coaching staff and upper management. Finally, the team seems to be in a better place with the modernizing of the front office, thanks to general manager Joe Schoen.

The New York Giants have a tough road ahead, but progress is all we need to see:

The team has a long way to go, but Johnson’s words stand out as a significant hurdle they need to overcome. Players still have scar tissue left from the past, whether that be poor practice habits or rehabilitation.

Looking at the offensive line specifically, the Giants have featured one of the worst units in football the past few years. They are looking to take a step forward with Evan Neal at right tackle and Mark Glowinski at right guard. Andrew Thomas somehow managed to escape the clutches of the former regime, excelling in 2021 and showcasing Pro Bowl level quality.

There is a long journey ahead for the offensive line to become a competent unit. At the very least, they’ve injected new talent that can overhaul the mentality in the trenches. Johnson mentioned this week that he wants aggressive players. If you’re not on the field, he will find somebody to take your spot.

The shift in philosophy will do the Giants well, providing more aggression and physicality upfront. That will directly affect Daniel Jones’s performance in the pocket.

At the end of the day, the team desperately needs to evaluate Jones in a better system. Johnson will plan an instrumental role in preparing the OL for the 2022 season.

Yankees lose relief pitcher to ‘elbow strain’ | Pitching staff takes hard hit this week

New York Yankees, Chad Green

The New York Yankees have endured a tough week with their pitching staff, losing starter Luis Gil to a “significant” injury, per Aaron Boone.

The expectation is that Gil will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the 2022 season, which is a huge blow to the starting rotation’s depth. This season, Gil has only made one appearance, pitching 4.0 innings and allowing four earned runs and five hits. He was making progress toward becoming a more impactful player down the road.

Eventually, the Yankees will need to supplement starting fatigue, and Gil was their first alternative from Triple-A.

However, the Bombers also learned that relief pitcher Chad Green suffered an elbow strain which will keep them out for several weeks.

As per the Yankees:

Placed RHP Chad Green on the 15-day injured list with a right elbow strain.

On the season, Green hosts a 3.00 ERA over 15 innings. His strikeouts per nine have dipped to 9.60, and have been walking three batters per nine innings. In addition, his 25% groundball rate is the lowest in his entire career. His arm is clearly deteriorating as time wears on.

After multiple years of heavy usage, Green has seen a sizable dip in velocity, hitting 94.7 mph with his fastball, down 1 mph from 2021. In addition, his curveball velocity and split-fingered fastball are also down.

It has been no surprise to see the Yankees shy away from using Green as frequent as they once did based on his decreased velocity and poor pitch location. However, he isn’t expected to miss a significant amount of time after being placed on the 15-day IL. Green will have to ramp up upon his return to make sure his elbow is in good shape.

Nonetheless, the Yankees are experiencing their first injury scares of the season, and luckily the majority of them are depth-related.