Donaldson returns to Oakland with the Blue Jays
Josh Donaldson had a little extra time to reflect on his tenure with the Athletics during his first trip back to the aging Oakland Coliseum.
Toronto’s All-Star third baseman spent about two hours in a taxi from San Francisco to Oakland on Tuesday because his driver apparently took a few failed “shortcuts.”
Finally, Donaldson saw the stadium’s new video boards as the car approached and thought back to his old memories of playing for the green and gold.
“When I pulled up, my heart started fluttering a little bit seeing this place,” Donaldson said, wearing his Blue Jays uniform in the visitor’s dugout.
No doubt Donaldson felt some emotions in his return to Oakland, where the Blue Jays and A’s were meeting for the first time since the off-season trade that reshaped their rosters.
In a surprising move Nov. 28, the A’s sent Donaldson to Toronto for third baseman Brett Lawrie, right-hander Kendall Graveman, lefty Sean Nolin and minor league shortstop Franklin Barreto.
Gravemen (6-5, 3.38 ERA) was starting for Oakland in the opener of the three-game series.
“Maybe a little incentive there,” Donaldson quipped.
Donaldson said he has “zero animosity” toward the A’s. He recalls only fond memories of his four seasons with the team – “minus some flooding a couple times” in the clubhouse – and is thankful for the opportunity the team gave him.
But Donaldson admitted the move by A’s general manager Billy Beane to break up a club that had made the playoffs three straight seasons left him stunned.
“It probably took me two or three weeks at least to kind of let it soak in. It was definitely hard,” Donaldson said.
“There was definitely some emotions going on because a lot of the guys that were here, we’ve been through so much together, we’ve kind of built what we thought was a core and really some foundations.”
Oakland, which won the AL West in 2012 and 2013, lost by 10 games to the big-spending Los Angeles Angels last season.
The A’s were then eliminated 98 in 12 innings in the one-game wild card at Kansas City.