Josh Donaldson has hit the leadoff in just seven regular-season games during his 11-year MLB career.
But the Yankees’ third baseman was a common name on Aaron Boone’s lineup this spring and seems to be settling in soon.
Donaldson started Sunday’s game against the Blue Jays with a walk and later added two goals, including his third Grapefruit League home run, in a 7-5 loss at TD Ballpark.
“Part of that is you can set the tone early on,” Donaldson said. “But I try to keep my approach and at-bat fairly similar no matter where I am.”
In nine games this spring, after being traded from the Twins to the Yankees in the early days of camp, Donaldson is batting 9-for-25. In each of the last five games he has played in, the 36-year-old has scored in a 7-for-16, two walks, four runs scored.
“I don’t want to say I’m fully dialed in at the moment, but I’m feeling good about where I am and how my body is feeling and recovering day by day,” Donaldson said. “I feel ready to go. I feel like it’s a good time to get started.”
With two days left at camp, the Yankees still have some roster decisions to make. But Boone likes where his team is.
“I think we’re a better team right now than we were at any point last year,” he said. “I would say a more complete team. But it’s April 3rd so that’s great and all but we have to do it.
Luis Severino said his arm feels good and he has “normal” pain on Sunday after his encouraging outing on Saturday – unlike his previous start.
“Usually when I pitch, I have a tension in my back and that’s it,” said Severino. “My shoulder or elbow are not tight. Now it’s just my back.”
Severino said he plans to play Catch Monday and will prepare as usual for his scheduled start Saturday against the Red Sox in the Bronx.
Kyle Higashioka said he didn’t do much on his swing in the offseason to lead to a surge in performance this spring that led to a team-high seven homers.
“Nothing groundbreaking,” Higashioka said at Steinbrenner Field. “Small changes to the swing. It’s just learning to trust my approach and developing a good approach and refining that process.”
“I think at this point it’s like being in a car with no brakes. You just have to keep going. If I try to stop it will crash and burn.”
Higashioka partially credited Donaldson for his powerful jump, having previously modeled his swing after the former MVP, but Donaldson redirected the praise.
“I just give him a few nuggets every now and then that I’ve learned throughout my career,” Donaldson said. “He’s the one who took the bull by the horns and did a really good job at it.”
After the game, the Yankees assigned right-hander Shelby Miller and catchers Rob Brantly, David Freitas, and Max McDowell to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
https://nypost.com/2022/04/03/josh-donaldson-feels-ready-for-potential-yankees-leadoff-duties/ Josh Donaldson feels poised for potential Yankees leadoff duties