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The last word: Josh Donaldson made sure to let Lucas Giolito know how he felt about comments

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox
Jun 29, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) celebrates with right fielder Trevor Larnach (24) after hitting a two run home run against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

How did Josh Donaldson handle Lucas Giolito’s criticism of him in a postgame press conference after the White Sox’s 7-6 victory over the Twins on Tuesday night in Chicago? Exactly like you would expect. The fiery third baseman ran across the White Sox starter in the parking lot at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“He said said, ‘I wish he’d say it to my face,'” Donaldson said, referencing Giolito’s postgame comments. “Well, I did say it to his face. We had a talk last night. Let’s just be quite frank with this: He didn’t have much to say. It’s really easy to sit here behind a screen and talk tough, that’s not what I was trying to do.”

Giolito was upset that after giving up a two-run homer in the first inning, Donaldson loudly said, “It’s not sticky anymore,” as he crossed the plate. That was a reference to MLB’s recent crackdown on pitchers using foreign substances on the baseball. Donaldson has been one of the most outspoken critics of pitchers finding ways to enhance their spin rates and he’s also been vocal about being pleased that the league is doing something about it.

Giolito, who gave up three runs and six hits in six innings to get the victory Tuesday, addressed Donaldson’s comments in his postgame Zoom. “He’s a f—ing pest,” Giolito said. “That’s kind of a classless move. If you’re going to talk s—, talk s— to my face. Don’t go across home plate and do all that, just come to me. We won. The W’s next to my name. They’re in last place.”

Donaldson said that Giolito told him in the parking lot that he thought the comment about the ball not being sticky was “annoying.” Donaldson’s response: “So what? I’m on the opposing team. What do you care about me? I said, ‘I’m in your face, I’m telling you what I think. What do you got to say about that?’ He didn’t have any response.”

Donaldson showed up to his Zoom press conference wearing a T-shirt that read: You Got Something to Say? Donaldson then made it clear he had plenty to say after not addressing the situation on Tuesday night.

Donaldson said the spin rate on Giolito’s fastball is down 200 rpms since the crackdown, while the spin rate on his curveball is down 400 or 500 rpms and the spin rate on his slider is down 200 rpms.

“I thought it was interesting,” said Donaldson, who also hit a first-inning home run off Dylan Cease on Wednesday. “First off, he calls me a pest, right? (That) is fine. I almost consider it a compliment, you’re not really supposed to like me being on the opposing team, so I’m fine with that. A couple things I have a problem with. He calls me classless.

“I didn’t think that I was showing him up during the game. I was talking to my bench. I didn’t pimp a home run, I wasn’t talking to him and saying anything. Obviously, he showed offense to what I said, which I think kind of speaks more about the looming question that’s going on, which is more about, was he using sticky stuff before this all happened in the first place? If he wasn’t, then he probably wouldn’t have even cared about that comment, right?

“If we’re going to talk about class … what side are you going to choose? Are you going to take the side of someone who is playing the game fair, or are you going to take the side of somebody that was probably cheating before this happened? I already knew all of those numbers before all of this. I could have come out to the media and said this and spoke on it before (the game). I chose not to.

“I said that (about the ball not being sticky) to my dugout because we all talk about it before the game. Trust me, it’s a hot topic among all of baseball. If you go look at my at-bats prior to last night off Lucas Giolito, I hadn’t taken many swings like that off (him). The first pitch I see, I take him deep, a ball that I hit 111 miles an hour. I’m kind of giving more reassurance to our dugout, like, ‘Hey, let’s go. Let’s go get him.’ Because Lucas Giolito the past few years has been a pretty good pitcher and he’s been tough on this team as well as a lot of other teams.”

Donaldson acknowledged that the situation is “probably good for TV,” adding, “that wasn’t my intention.”

“My intentions are to try to get out there and try to motivate our team,” he said. “Also to play well. My intention was not to show up Lucas Giolito. But he took it that way and he has his own right to feel and think whatever he wants. He has a problem with what I said on the field, and I have a problem with what he has to say in the Zoom room. That’s OK. We’re not supposed to like each other.”

Donaldson seemed more upset with what he heard from the outside, including comments from former White Sox manager and current Sox television studio analyst Ozzie Guillen.

“You go check my track record, you’ve got a lot of people talking a lot of (expletive) about me,” he said. “For somebody that’s a three-time All-Star and an MVP, I’m not here to boast my own self, but people forget, quick. I’ve got Ozzie Guillen talking (expletive) on the air saying, ‘I’d let one go and hit him in the ribs.’ Ozzie Guillen you were under a career .700 OPS hitter. You were a three-time All-Star and you had under a .700 OPS. (It was .626.)

“My worst season in the big leagues is 150 points higher than that. This is also coming from the man that said he loves Fidel Castro. That’s who we’re taking advice from? What are we doing around here? C’mon. People have got to start realizing that you talk about 95-, 98-mile-per-hour balls getting thrown at people’s ribs. The same guy from New York (Yankees TV announcer Michael Kay) said the same (expletive) about me. Hit him in the ribs. Hey, I’m just trying to make the game fair. I didn’t make the rules.”