Josh Donaldson, third baseman for the Minnesota Twins, clarified that he didn’t just expose pitcher Gerrit Cole when he said last week that the pitching speed of the New York Yankees ace had slowed relative to his previous start.
“When I say something, I say it after having thought about it before. It’s not just a whim, ”Donaldson explained before Wednesday’s meeting between the Twins and Yankees. “I’d say this: ‘About Gerrit Cole, he was the first player to pitch since the suspensions were applied (in minor leagues) and he was the first player whose spins could be seen to have decreased. Since Gerrit did that, and it’s been four or five days, there have been 12 or more players whose spins have magically dropped in the last week.
“So it’s not just about Gerrit Cole. I want to clarify that and having said the above, we’ll see what happens ”, he added.
Cole’s spinning average in his previous start against the Tampa Bay Rays, in which he allowed five runs in five innings, was the lowest for the Yankees pitcher in a start since 2018. His spinning average in 2021 heading into that outing was 2,520 rotations per minute and dropped to 2,429 against the Rays. Cole’s revolutions per minute (rpm) fell from 2,561 to 2,436 and that of his curve from 2,840 to 2,763.
“Is it a coincidence that Gerrit Cole’s spinning average dropped yesterday after four minor league players were suspended for 10 games?” Donaldson asked last week. “Is that possible? I do not know. Maybe ”.
With Major League Baseball’s indication that they will soon begin monitoring that no illegal substances are applied to balls, other pitchers have also seen their rpms drop. Los Angeles Dodgers starter Trevor Bauer, who had seen his spinning average rise dramatically the past two seasons, also had his lowest average of 2021 in his most recent start, averaging 2,780 rpms after averaging 2,888 heading into that game.
On Tuesday, Cole was questioned about comments Donaldson made in previous days.
“I understand that this topic is important to everyone who cares about the game. As for Josh, I felt he was a ripe fruit, but he has the right to have a say and express his opinion, so I only have other things to do. I need to focus, “Cole said.
On Wednesday, Donaldson spoke about Cole’s non-response to the question of whether he had ever used a substance called Spider Tack.
I saw the answer. So are he and his team. At the end of the day, time will tell what happens and I’m not in his position and I don’t have to think about it when I sleep, “said Donaldson.
Donaldson, 2015 American League MVP with the Toronto Blue Jays, is a player who is known for expressing his opinions and said that he decided to speak out about the problem of illegal substances because “nobody speaks for hitters.”
“It won’t be a topic to be taken seriously if it’s said by a rookie or someone who hasn’t had that much time in the majors, so I felt like, on my own, it was almost a responsibility to say something, because that’s how serious I think it is ( the problem of substances for greater grip on the balls) “, concluded Donaldson.