Yankees' Josh Donaldson heads to IL with shoulder inflammation

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Josh Donaldson is going to be out for a while longer. The third baseman who recently had to apologize to White Sox shortstop TIm Anderson and the Jackie Robinson family for what were at the very least insensitive remarks was placed on the injured list with shoulder inflammation Friday after days on the COVID-19 list.

“So he’s been dealing with a little bit of a shoulder (issue) off and on kind of all season. So when he came in the other day to get his IV (for the respiratory illness),with his shoulders we figured we’d MRI it at this time and it shows some inflammation in there. So he got a cortisone shot,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said before Friday night’s game against the Rays at Tropicana Field. “He’s actually at the stadium today working out, went through some light throwing, some light hitting and stuff and is feeling better.

“With the ability to back date it a couple days, hopefully it’s something that is a short thing,” Boone said. “Hopefully it kind of keeps making improvements in that this is something that benefits him over the long haul.”

Donaldson has had the shoulder issue since spring training, but said recently he did not think it was hindering him.

“I think it’s something that he’s dealt with at different points in different seasons,” Boone said. “He’s managed it this year already and he’s obviously done well with that. So, hopefully this is something that the cortisone injection does its job and kind of just helps him out a little bit and he gets through this week.”

Donaldson called Anderson “Jackie,” several times during a game against the White Sox in the Bronx last week, leading to the benches and bullpens to clear and White Sox manager to claim that Donaldson’s comments were racist. Donaldson claimed it was an on-going, “inside joke,” between him and Anderson, who had said in a 2019 interview he felt like he was the “Jackie Robinson,” of today.

Donaldson was suspended for a game by MLB for the “disrespectful,” comments. He is appealing the suspension.

DJ back in play

DJ LeMahieu was not in the starting lineup for the fourth straight game, but was available off the bench. The infielder was dealing with a sore left wrist, which kept him from playing and forced him to have a cortisone shot earlier this week.

“This time (on Thursday), if you’d asked me I’d say he might be going on the IL at this time today. He had a marked improvement last night and came in today feeling well,” Boone said. “I think he and I both want to see him go through a full day’s work today and if that goes well have him as an active player off the bench tonight with the idea that he’s in there tomorrow, but very encouraged.”

Aaron Hicks was also expected to be available off the bench after being a late scratch from Thursday’s game with a tight right hamstring. The center fielder could not run on Thursday, but was testing his leg running and hitting on Friday.

Stanton starting back up

Giancarlo Stanton, on the IL with a right ankle issue, is starting to rehab for his return, which could be as soon as this week.

“He’s good. He’s in (New York) today doing some moving around and some light hitting and I know yesterday he was feeling really good,” Boone said. “I think we avoided a situation there. So that’s encouraging. And these last couple of days have been good.”

Kluber reunion

The Yankees will face Corey Kluber, who pitched for them last year, for the first time. The right-hander pitched a no-hitter in a Yankee uniform and had a big influence on the Bombers’ staff. He taught Michael King his slurve, which has made a big impact on the Yankees bullpen.

“It’s been great,” Kluber said of King’s success this year. “I haven’t seen him first hand yet, but, you know, just from seeing the numbers he’s putting up and some of the highlights and stuff, it seems he has really taken that next step. I think a lot of it just comes with confidence and getting reps and believing in yourself all that kind of stuff.”