TAMPA, Fla. — Josh Donaldson singled out new teammate Gerrit Cole last season as suspected of using unauthorized ball-gripping substances. Now, the two say they are united in leading the New York Yankees to their first World Series championship since 2009.
The Yankees acquired Donaldson, infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa and backup catcher Ben Rortvedt from the Minnesota Twins on Sunday night for catcher Gary Sanchez and third baseman Gio Urshela.
Donaldson suggested in June of last year that Cole, the Yankees ace, had tried to hide the use of substances to manipulate the ball.
The 2015 American League MVP and Cole met with manager Aaron Boone before the first day of work at the Yankees’ spring camp Monday.
“In the end, I think it’s not going to be a problem,” Boone said. “I think it’s something that’s been buried and it’s not going to be a problem, not to say it was a minor thing for us last year.”
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman called Cole before the trade was announced, saying he had to talk it over with him after what happened last year. Cole called the conversation with Donaldson “productive.”
“If you’re committed to winning the championship, these kinds of situations don’t matter,” Cole said. “It was just listening to both sides a little bit and getting to know a new teammate.”
Donaldson said it had been a good meeting.
“We had a conversation, because obviously there was some noise in there because of what happened last year, correct?” Donaldson said. “I think both parties wanted to get to know each other and hear what both parties had to say and ultimately align our goals. Our goal is to win. We’re both in the same car now and that’s what we’re going to do.”
“At the end of the day, we’re here to play baseball,” Donaldson added.