Josh Donaldson had good reason for not running out spring home run

Mark TownsendYahoo Sports Contributor
Big League Stew
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/8723/" data-ylk="slk:Josh Donaldson">Josh Donaldson</a>’s decision to not run out a home run during a minor league spring training game was not actually his decision. (AP)
Josh Donaldson’s decision to not run out a home run during a minor league spring training game was not actually his decision. (AP)

Josh Donaldson wasn’t about to let anyone get the wrong idea about his confusing actions during a minor league spring training game on Friday.

What looked to some like a disrespectful decision on Donaldson’s part, was actually the Toronto Blue Jays star following instructions in regards to protecting a calf injury.

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As you’ll see in the video below, Donaldson absolutely crushed a baseball during said game. According to eyewitness accounts, the baseball cleared the fence by a comfortable margin, yet Donaldson never bothered to run the bases. He simply returned to the dugout, which in a major league game would result in him being called out.


In spring training, and particularly on the back fields where minor league and simulated versions of spring training games are played, the rules are pretty relaxed. But that didn’t stop some, including Sean Allen, an assistant baseball coach at the University of Texas, from criticizing Donaldson’s actions without knowing the context.

Allen’s tweet has since been deleted. According to CBS Sports it read as follows.

This might be the worst video I have ever seen. So much disrespect to the game of baseball. Baseball gods will handle this.

As for Donaldson’s response, that has not been deleted.


The extra dig at Allen’s coaching, which we’re guessing Donaldson doesn’t see very often, if ever, is probably unnecessary. It puts him in the same category of making assumptions, but it’s understandable he wanted to set the record straight regarding his effort, or the perceived lack thereof.

Donaldson’s calf injury has been a concern for Toronto all spring. The former American League MVP has yet to appear in a Grapefruit League game, though there’s still optimism that he’ll be ready for opening day. Assignments like Friday’s are geared at helping him progress, without putting him at too much risk for a setback.

It’s not uncommon for major leaguers to play in minor league games during the spring just to get in a few at-bats, try out a new fielding position, or as in Donaldson’s case, return from an injury. It’s probably not uncommon either for players to not run under those circumstances. These games don’t get a whole lot of attention, and their outcomes are certainly void of any real meaning. But this instance was caught on video, so it kinda blew up.

It’s a reminder that knowing and understanding the context is essential before a judgment can be made. We’re all guilty of jumping the gun from time to time, and we’re all eligible to be put in our place.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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