When informed that he had become the first player since 1900 to have 10 homers in his first 14 hits of a season, according to Elias Sports Bureau, Josh Donaldson laughed and said, “I’d prefer not to be on that list — unless it was in maybe 20 at-bats.”
Instead, his 10th home run came in his 94th at-bat of the year and his average remains an ugly .146.
The previous record was 16 at-bats, set by Phillies Hall-of-Famer Mike Schmidt in 1976 and matched by the Diamondbacks’ Luis Gonzalez in 2001 — both set in April as parts of sizzling starts to a season.
That has not been the case with Donaldson.
“I’ve probably been a little unlucky,” Donaldson said after the Yankees’ 6-3 win over the Cubs on Saturday at the Stadium. “I think the positive is that it means I’m driving the ball hard. I wouldn’t want 14 hits and 10 singles.”
Donaldson said his season has been “frustrating, but I can’t get too wrapped up in what’s happened.”
Boone has remained steadfast that Donaldson’s hard-hit numbers, which remain good, are a sign that he’ll break out soon.
“But it’s got to happen,” manager Aaron Boone said. “We’ve got to get that confidence going. … You don’t just run into 10 homers in however many at-bats because you’re not doing some things well.”
The Yankees had Domingo German available out of the bullpen on Saturday.
Since he wasn’t needed, the right-hander will start Sunday before the break and Clarke Schmidt will be available “in some way, shape or form,” according to Boone.
The rest of the rotation is set for the break, with Luis Severino trying to get out of his first-half funk.
“There’s work to be done there,’’ Boone said. “He’s gonna be around [the Stadium]. We’ll try to set up [work] and hope we strike that balance, as well.”
Nestor Cortes is expected to throw another live batting practice Sunday in The Bronx with another to follow Thursday in Tampa. Following that, the lefty, who has been out for more than a month with a rotator cuff strain, is expected to start a rehab assignment.