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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 5/22/22

Josh Donaldson accused of saying a racist comment amid tensions with White Sox; Yankees’ Chad Green contemplating surgery; Michael King talks pitching mentality; Holmes notches his second save of the week.

MLB: New York Yankees at Chicago White Sox Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: Tensions between Yankees’ third baseman Josh Donaldson and the Chicago White Sox continued on Saturday, after some friction last week. In the fifth inning, the Yanks’ slugger and Chicago catcher Yasmani Grandal got into a verbal altercation at home plate that resulted in both benches emptying.

No punches were thrown, but Donaldson and Grandal had to be separated by teammates. In the third inning, Donaldson and White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson had another verbal dustup. It’s clear that there is some bad blood between these teams, and there are two more games to be played today.

After the game, Anderson referred to the issue. “Disrespectful comment. Basically he tried to call me Jackie Robinson, you know, ‘What’s up Jackie.’ I don’t play like that. I don’t play at all,” Anderson told reporters after the game. “I wasn’t really going to bother nobody today, but he made the comment and it was, you know, disrespectful. And I don’t think it was called for. It was unnecessary,” the White Sox’s shortstop said to reporters after the game.

Donaldson later said he thought it was a joke: he was talking about a 2019 Sports Illustrated interview in which Anderson was quoted as saying “I kind of feel like today’s Jackie Robinson.”

Donaldson elaborated. “I called him Jackie (…) In 2019, he came out with the interview saying that he’s the new Jackie Robinson of baseball. He’s gonna bring back fun to the game. Right? And in 2019 when I played for Atlanta we actually joked about that [in] the game. I don’t know what’s changed from [then] ... and I’ve said it to him in years past, not in any manner, [other] than just joking around for the fact that he calls himself Jackie Robinson. So, if something has changed from that, like my meaning of that is not any term trying to be racist by any fact of the matter.”

NJ Advance Media | Randy Miller: After exiting in the middle of an at-bat against the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday, Chad Green and the Yankees probably knew he could be out for a while. On Saturday, he was placed on the 15-day injured list with an ‘elbow strain’, but the team is still looking for opinions and finding a way for the situation not to end on season-ending surgery.

Prospect Luis Gil will undergo the procedure, and the odds are high that Green will, too. Manager Aaron Boone admitted on Saturday that his injury is “significant” and that he had an emotional talk with the pitcher about the injury. Green has a 3.00 ERA in 15 innings this season. An official, more detailed confirmation about his health status should come soon.

NY Post | Steve Serby: In a lengthy, interesting conversation with the Post, Yankees reliever Michael King opened up about certain aspects of his game, his development, and how he got to where he currently is: a top bullpen arm for the Bombers.

He says he is a really nice person off the field, but his mentality changes once he goes up on the mound. “I generally think I’m a nice guy, very smiley, I love to laugh. But when I’m on the mound I want to be a dog,” he stated.

He credited Yankees’ pitching coach Matt Blake for his development, and former Yankees pitcher Corey Kluber for the improvement in his slider. “Working with [Corey] Kluber last year and him noticing that we had a very similar arm slot, I felt like I made huge improvements on the horizontal movement of that. And then this year I’m just focusing on the command of it and be able to throw backdoor, down and away for a strike to a righty, throw it back foot to a lefty, expand it away to a righty. Last year I just kind of ripped it and it had good movement, now I’m trying to rip it in locations,” he explained.

After allowing a couple of runs on Saturday, King’s ERA is still an excellent 2.03 in 26.2 innings, with 38 punchouts.

CBS Sports: Clay Holmes earned his fourth save of the season and second of the week with 1.1 innings to close out the Yankees’ victory against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday. The right-hander, who hasn’t allowed a run since early April, could start seeing some more ninth-inning opportunities if the Yanks decide to give the struggling Aroldis Chapman a breather from the closer role.