LEADING OFF: Cole vs Donaldson gets sticky, Texas cuts Davis

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New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) reacts heading to the dugout after allowing a two-run home run to Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Austin Meadows in the fourth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, June 3, 2021, at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

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Yankees ace Gerrit Cole has found himself in a sticky situation.

Days after Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson off-handedly alleged that Cole had been using foreign substances to sharpen his stuff, the pair will go head to head with Cole on the mound for New York at Minnesota.

The pitches Cole threw in his previous outing didn’t rotate as much as usual, and Donaldson casually wondered aloud last week whether Cole had suddenly stopped using substances that could spike his spin rates, fearing an MLB crackdown.

Cole said the spin issues were due to mechanical flaws.

“I understand this topic is important to everybody that cares about the game,” Cole said. “In regards to Josh, I kind of felt like it was a bit of a low-hanging fruit, but he’s entitled to his opinion and to voice his opinion, so I just have other things that I need to keep my focus on.”