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Josh Donaldson released by Yankees

DETROIT — The Yankees released third baseman Josh Donaldson from the roster before Tuesday’s game against the Tigers, ending a rough New York tenure for the three-time All-Star and 2015 American League Most Valuable Player.

The 37-year-old played in just 34 of New York’s 131 games this season, slashing .142/.225/.434 with 10 home runs and 15 RBIs. His last game for the Yankees came on July 15, when he went 0-for-4 against the Rockies before being placed on the 15-day injured list, and later moved to the 60-day IL, with a right calf strain. Donaldson also missed 52 games from April to June with a right hamstring strain.

That said, Donaldson took live batting practice at home on Saturday, with Yankees manager Aaron Boone saying that the session “went well” and that there was “definitely a possibility” Donaldson could be activated in September once he was eligible to return from the injured list on Sept. 15.

“I think we’re just at a point where, with him having to go through a rehab assignment and then being back in the middle of the month, there weren’t going to be opportunities,” Boone said Tuesday, adding that the Yankees’ desire to take some longer looks at younger talent such as Oswald Peraza and Everson Pereira would have lessened Donaldson’s playing time.

If Donaldson — who will become a free agent at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday — catches on with another team by Friday, he’ll also be eligible for that team’s postseason roster.

“Basically, it just kind of felt like it was the right thing to do,” Boone said. “Give him the option or the possibility of catching on with someone.”

Donaldson landed with the Yankees on March 13, 2022, in a trade that sent Gary Sánchez and Gio Urshela to Minnesota in exchange for Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Ben Rortvedt. Two years prior to the trade, Donaldson signed a four-year, $92 million contract that was set to expire after this season.

Donaldson’s best seasons came during his four-year run in Toronto that included a stellar 2015 campaign during which he hit .297 with a .939 OPS, 41 home runs and 123 RBIs en route to his MVP nod. He remained a productive player for several more seasons, posting above-average offensive numbers through 2021, but his production declined following the trade to New York. In 666 plate appearances with the Yankees, Donaldson hit .207/.293/.385 with 25 homers and 77 RBIs.

Though he had just 15 hits with the Yankees this season, 10 were home runs.

“Felt like he came in in a really good place this spring and then got hurt pretty early on, and then came back and obviously was hitting long balls,” Boone said. “Tremendous defensive third baseman, just never was able to really get on track like he — or we — really expected. …

“He’s obviously had a great career and loves this game. And his passion for this game shows up on a daily basis with how he goes about it, how he works, how he competes. He’s a big personality. But the fact that it didn’t necessarily work out how we all would have hoped or expected doesn’t change who he is in this game, and how much he cares about his craft and how much he pours into it. That never wavered.”

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