Josh Donaldson: ‘I Was Able To Grow Into The Position’

Miguel Cabrera is a two-time MVP, he’s won the Triple Crown and he’s been called the greatest hitter of his generation.

So his opinion about anything baseball-related counts. A lot.

And if it were up to Cabrera, then the starting third baseman for the American League in the All-Star Game would be Josh Donaldson, who, if you didn’t already know, plays for the Oakland Athletics.

“It definitely means a lot (for Cabrera to say that),” Donaldson said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “Miguel Cabrera is probably one of the greatest hitters that I’ve ever seen play the game. It definitely means a lot.”

Donaldson is hitting .272 with 12 home runs and 38 RBIs entering play May 28. He is seeking to become the first Oakland position player to start in an All-Star Game since 2003.

Even more amazing? Third base isn’t even Donaldson’s natural position. He began his professional career as a catcher.

“It’s definitely one of those things that a lot of people weren’t expecting out of me,” Donaldson said. “I think with those tempered expectations, I was able to grow into the position. I was an infielder before that, and I was pretty confident in my ability to be able to move over there and make the transition and be able to do it at the major league level. It’s definitely one of those stories that you don’t hear often. For me, it means a lot.”

Donaldson also means a lot to Oakland (31-21), which has the second-best record in the AL and the best run differential (+99) in the majors.

As Gottlieb pointed out, however, the Athletics have lost five of six. They got swept by Toronto this past weekend, during which they scored just five runs in three games.

Donaldson isn’t too concerned.

“Right before getting swept by Toronto, (we had) won five of six, so it’s kind of one of those things where sometimes the ball’s going to fall in your favor, and sometimes it’s not,” he said. “The Rays are dealing with it, too. The Blue Jays might be one of the hottest teams in baseball right now. They pitched extremely well when we were there. Our pitching staff did a great job of holding their lineup down for the most part. They were just about to squeak a few more runs (than us).”

Gottlieb asked Donaldson is he had seen 50 Cent’s embarrassing attempt at a first pitch before the Mets/Pirates game at Citi Field on Tuesday.

“I did, I did,” Donaldson said, “and it was absolutely atrocious on every level, but what are you going to say?”

When regular people see something like that, they think it’s hilarious. But what do major leaguers think?

“I think at first everybody just laughs,” Donaldson said. “And this is the thing. People watch the NBA, people watch football and they say, ‘Hey, man, these are the greatest athletes alive.’ And to a certain extent, I can’t jump as high as LeBron James, and there’s probably a lot of guys in baseball that can’t.”

Correction, Gottlieb pointed out. There’s no “certain extent” about it; under no extent can Donaldson jump as high as James.

“There’s no chance I’m jumping as high as LeBron James,” Donaldson clarified. “With that being said, we’re different types of athletes. With most people, in order to throw a baseball, there are certain mechanics and (a) certain body awareness that you have to be able to have to throw a baseball. 50 Cent last night – maybe he could be athletic, but at the same time, being able to throw a baseball probably wasn’t one of his strongest suits.”

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