MINNEAPOLIS – Nothing personal.
According to Josh Donaldson, a former AL MVP who created a stir last week when he insinuated Gerrit Cole was among the many pitchers the sport using illegal sticky substances to dramatically increase movement on their pitches, those remarks weren’t meant to make the Yankees ace the face of an issue that is considered widespread in the game. An issue MLB has vowed to crack down on (the specifics of how are not yet clear).
"With Gerrit Cole, he was the first one to pitch since the suspensions [in the minor leagues] had happened," Donaldson said in his first remarks since his comments a day after Cole’s poor outing June 3 against the Rays. "And he’s the first guy that you could see spin rates going down."
Word came down the day before Cole’s start against the Rays that a handful of minor leaguers had been suspended for the use of such substances, with MLB intending to follow suit in the coming weeks.
"Since [then], there’s been 12 or more guys already whose spin rates have magically dropped in the last week," Donaldson said, also mentioning the Dodgers Trevor Bauer. "So it’s not just Gerrit Cole. I want to get that out [there]. With that being said, we’ll see how it plays out."
Donaldson said he has done, and has had others doing, extensive research on the topic.
"Obviously there’s been some stuff on Twitter that I’ve said and it’s true; I have a lot of information that’s not hard to get," he said. "If I feel like it continues to get out of control, it will be something at some point I do release or have somebody release."
Donaldson said he’s received a slew of text messages of support from other hitters, especially veterans, since his comments from last week.
"A lot these guys who have seen a lot of pitches, we know when stuff’s up," Donaldson said. "It’s (been) hard to find the ingredient that’s causing that, but now that there’s been some enlightenment to that, that’s why you’re seeing guys take a stance on it."