If Josh Donaldson was aware of the brouhaha surrounding his sixth-inning at-bat against Cleveland’s Cal Quantrill on Thursday, he wasn’t letting on Friday.
The moment passed mostly unknown to those not in the dugout. With the Minnesota Twins trailing, 3-1, Donaldson grounded to first on a 3-0 pitch from the Indians right-hander, who offered his opinion of the Twins slugger’s at-bat.
“I think he said something but I didn’t really hear it because I was running to first base,” Donaldson said Friday. “I think some of the guys heard him say something.”
After the game, Twins acting manager Bill Evers said Quantrill criticized Donaldson for swinging at a 3-0 pitch, but there likely was something else going on. Donaldson entered the game hitting 5 for 9 against Quantril, and in the Twins’ 5-4 victory on Aug. 16, he hit the former Stanford ace with a comebacker that left his bat at 114 mph.
In Donaldson’s first at-bat Thursday, he hit a ball sharply through the hole in short to improve his career batting average against Quantril to .600.
“I think if anything, he was saying something to the effect that he was glad that I got out on a 3-0 pitch,” Donaldson said. “I don’t think it was him being upset. I haven’t played too many games against him, but I’ve heard he likes to talk to himself out there.”
Indians slugger Franmil Reyes agreed with Evers, telling Indians beat writers after the game that Quantrill was angry that Donaldson swung at a 3-0 pitch — in a two-run game.
The situation came to light only because Miguel Sano came to bat in the seventh and told Quantrill, according to Reyes, to “say it to his face.” To which Quantril said, “I did.” Besides, the right-hander dominated the Twins in a 4-1 victory.
At any rate, Donaldson seemed bemused by the whole thing before Friday’s game against the Kansas City Royals at Target Field on Friday, saying, “I had no issue. I never got mad.”
It’s probably difficult to be too upset with a pitcher against whom you’re hitting .464 (6 for 13). Quantrill improved to 5-1 in his past 13 starts and lowered is earned-run average to 3.04.
Pitchers get the finger
Randy Dobnak and Taylor Rogers, on the injured list with similar injuries to the middle fingers on their throwing hands, appear done for the season, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. Each was examined by hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham on Thursday in Cleveland.
Dobnak, who returned from an 11-week stint on the IL to make one start, has a tear in the A4 pulley, which keeps the tendon close to both near the knuckle. Before returning, Dobnak had a tear. The Twins are hoping he’ll heal with rest and rehabilitation.
Asked if Dobnak might pitch in the last three weeks of the season, Baldelli said, “I don’t want to make a statement (but) that’s likely at this point.”
Rogers, a left-hander out since injuring his finger on July 26, will begin a throwing program soon but also is unlikely to pitch again this season. “We’re going to get him out there, put a ball in his hand hopefully at some point within the week and let him begin playing catch,” Baldelli said.
Baldelli, 39, is believed to be the first MLB manager to take paternity and he returned Friday after five days away. In his stead, bench coach Bill Evers led the Twins to a 4-1 record. His daughter, Louisa, and wife Allie are doing well. “Some of the best days of my life,” he said. … Left-hander Lewis Thorpe, on the IL since Aug. 18 with a shoulder strain, played catch on Friday and was scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Saturday.