Taking the rivalry a bit too seriously perhaps, the low Single-A Greenville Drive and Charleston River Dogs had it out Friday night, brawling after the second pitch of the game.
Baseball America’s Ben Badler said there was some lingering bad blood from a series between the teams three weeks ago, so when Red Sox prospect Miguel Celestino hit former Yankees first-round pick Slade Heathcott in the top of the first, mayhem ensued.
Rather than go after Celestino, Heathcott turned and shoved catcher Christian Vazquez instead.
Youtube user rdogsfan11 caught the brawl on the video:
Ejections were handed to Heathcott and Vazquez, as well as one reliever for each team: Garett Rau for the Drive and Kelvin Perez for the River Dogs.
Heathcott, one of the Yankees’ top prospects, seems certain to be suspended. The 20-year-old, who was taken 29th overall in the 2009 draft, is hitting .312/.396/.504 with three homers in 125 at-bats this season.
Charleson ended up winning the contest 6-2. It was the first game in a four-game series, so perhaps more fireworks are in store.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.