Whenever a professional athlete changes teams, one of the first tasks on their agenda is typically to make a strong first impression on their new teammates.
That, however, apparently doesn’t apply to veteran infielder Josh Donaldson.
The 37-year-old, released by the New York Yankees earlier this season, ultimately signed a minor-league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers this past August before returning to the majors a few weeks later.
But, rather than checking his ego at the door, the former Toronto Blue Jays third baseman turned up the heat almost immediately after he entered the Brewers’ clubhouse. And that left some of his teammates feeling uneasy about his intense presence.
Rowdy Tellez, another ex-Blue Jay, detailed his initial encounter with Donaldson in a recent interview on the Foul Territory podcast, saying the All-Star slugger didn’t feel the need to introduce himself due to his long-standing resume. He also poked fun at the first baseman’s weight, too.
“He came in the clubhouse and walked straight by, and I was like, ‘Hey, when you walk in the clubhouse, you introduce yourself to your teammates.’ And he goes, ‘Everybody knows who I am,’" Tellez said.
“And then, I was like, ‘Yeah, and when you see a former teammate, you say what’s up?’ And he was like, ‘Hey, are you on the seafood diet?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, good one… See food, eat food. Beat you to it.’”
.@RowdyTellez and Josh Donaldson started trash talking right away in the Brewers clubhouse 😂
JD came in hot with the "everybody knows who I am" and "seafood diet" jokes.
Full convo ▶️ https://t.co/4Fti2u8xBc pic.twitter.com/Hjb5aSaw69
— Foul Territory (@FoulTerritoryTV) September 26, 2023
Tellez made his major-league debut in September 2018 during Donaldson’s final season with Toronto. The two never shared a big league clubhouse at the same time, though, as the two-time Silver Slugger third baseman was traded to Cleveland on Aug. 31 that same year.
Still, both players likely established a relationship with each other while attending numerous spring training camps prior to the 2018 campaign.
Donaldson features an extensive history of butting heads with teammates and fellow players — both on and off the field — over the last several seasons. Regardless of his talent level, he has reportedly continuously rubbed some the wrong way, which might explain in part why he’s now on his sixth club in as many seasons.
The 2015 American League MVP winner has endured quite the fall from grace in recent years, particularly at the plate. He hit just .222/.308/.374 with 15 home runs and 62 RBIs across 132 games with New York last season.
This season, Donaldson has struggled mightily to stay healthy, appearing in only 46 contests thus far. Despite faltering in the contact department, he has supplied a fair bit of power, blasting 13 home runs in that span.
The Pensacola, Fla., native will become a free agent after the 2023 season concludes.