TAMPA – Forget competing for a spot in the rotation.
Domingo German could be competing with Gerrit Cole to be the Yankees’ staff ace.
The right-hander continued his dominant spring with four more scoreless innings in a 4-2 win over the Phillies on Monday at George M. Steinbrenner Field, striking out six and allowing three hits and a walk.
“He looked really polished,” Aaron Boone said of the outing. “You say, ‘That’s a really good pitcher right there. A guy who can do a lot of things on the mound. ‘ ”
And it makes it hard to imagine German anywhere but in the Yankees’ rotation to start the season, now that he pitched nine scoreless innings in three spring starts, striking out 13 and having allowed just five hits and one walk. by balls.
But more than that, the Yankees aren’t just looking to build the best five-man rotation for April. They’re looking for as many pitchers as they can to get them into October and help them win in the playoffs.
That’s why they took a chance by hiring Corey Kluber after he had dealt with injuries for the past two seasons and why they traded Jameson Taillon when he was coming off a second Tommy John surgery.
They’ve clearly aimed for a high ceiling rather than just finding pitchers to fill innings.
German was in the process of showing just how much he could be trusted by the end of the year when his 2019 season came to an abrupt end due to the incident with his girlfriend in September that led to his 81-game suspension for violating national league rules. Major League Baseball. abuse policy.
Since returning to the Yankees this spring, German has received criticism from his teammates for his actions in 2019, but he apparently won at least most of them by addressing the team early in camp.
“I’m excited to see what he can do,” Aaron Judge said Monday. “He’s a huge part of this team.”
And on the mound, German looks as good as ever, surprising even Boone.
The coach said expectations for the German were “a bit unknown” after he was out of 2020 and briefly pitched in the Dominican Republic winter league.
“We haven’t seen it and we haven’t seen it much, so we’re not quite sure what to expect,” Boone said. “I would say the lack of rust has been impressive. Really, since his first bullpen and every step of the way, he has been very sharp. This is a really good and experienced pitcher. “
That’s something that can’t be said about Deivi Garcia, who was thought to be Germany’s main competition for last place in the rotation.
The 21-year-old right-hander looks good too, but the German has been on a different level this spring, according to scouts who have seen both.
As Boone said, Garcia has room to grow.
“Do I think he can be a good MLB pitcher right now? I absolutely do, ” Boone said. “But is there more development for a 21 to 22 year old child? Of course there is. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think development can reach the Major League level. “
With a little over two weeks to go before Opening Day, and at least three weeks before the Yankees imagine they’ll need any of them to start a major league game, Boone said it’s a matter for him and his staff. ” they will have many conversations about. “
He then pointed to DJ LeMahieu’s first game as a Yankee in 2019, when LeMahieu spent Opening Day on the bench because, as Boone put it, “someone has to sit down.”
German’s place in the rotation is yet to be determined. When asked if he considered himself an ace, given his performance this spring, German said through an interpreter: “No, I look like a normal baseball player. I just want to keep doing my job and try to earn a spot in the rotation. It doesn’t matter what it is. “