Yankees: When could we see Domingo German back in the big leagues?
By Derek McAdam
After Rob Manfred delivered an 81-game suspension to Yankees starting pitcher Domingo German for reports of domestic violence New York will have to rely on another starter to fill the fifth rotation spot. The question is how long will that fifth spot be occupied by a pitcher besides German?
Although German can theoretically return to the Yankees on June 5th against the Rays after serving his 63 games, the 27-year-old might not be ready to go that day, possibly even for the rest of that month.
German’s suspension will bar him from playing until June 5, but he will be given a 15-day window prior to that to make some minor league rehab appearances to prepare for his season debut. German will also have one big advantage before he returns and that’s being injury-free. Since he won’t have to rehab anything, he should be ready on June 5 to continue preparing in the minors for his debut to get him first-hand experience that he has not had since September 18.
The Yankees will not have to worry about slowly working him back to the Majors, as long as he at least keeps his arm active during his suspension. As long as he does not show up to any training facilities that are Major League Baseball-related, German is not violating any rules.
One thing that is standing in German’s way is whoever will be occupying the fifth rotation spot, whether that be J.A. Happ, Jordan Montgomery, Deivi Garcia or someone else. If they are having a solid first couple months of the season, their rotation spot should not be given to German just because he will be ready to return. Especially given the circumstances of why he was suspended in the first place. He still has a lot of work to do to repair his image and show the Yankees that he deserves a second chance at pitching in the big leagues.
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If this is the case, Yankee fans may not see German in action until an injury occurs to a pitcher, whether that be a bullpen member or a starter. The Yankees might look at German to be a long-man out of the pen, even though the plan is likely for him to still be a starter in the long run.
Best case scenario, German will probably be able to come back around late June or early July. It will probably take him four or five stars in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to get his form and confidence back together.
I could see a scenario where he’s not apart of the big league roster unless a starter is either hurt or struggling badly. Or if the Yankees feel he’d be useful out of the bullpen which is certainly possible because he has experience in that role. Brian Cashman has done a fine job of assembling a nearly complete starting rotation, and Spring Training is going to dictate who will take the fifth starting role and who will be the “6th man” barring injury.
We have a ways to go before June 5 arrives, but those competing for the fifth spot this spring will have to make the most of their appearances before German is ready to come back.