NEW YORK – Domingo German was cheered by Yankees fans on his return from a domestic violence suspension, but he fought the Toronto Blue Jays, allowing three runs in three innings on Sunday.
German, 28, had not pitched since Sept. 18, 2019, due to an 81-game ban under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy. He was placed on administrative leave on September 19, 2019, while MLB investigated alleged domestic violence involving his girlfriend, with whom he has at least one child.
He was applauded by fans in right field after he shot out of the dugout to warm up about 35 minutes before the first pitch – German pointed and acknowledged them as he ran. He received more cheers from the crowd of roughly 10,000 after completing a 12-pitch first inning.
The right-hander allowed a solo home run to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and a two-run shot to Randal Grichuk in the second, repeatedly putting the ball in the strike zone on a 59-degree afternoon at game time. It took 34 pitches to get out of the inning.
He worked through 22 more pitches in the third, but escaped without further damage and was replaced by Michael King to start the fourth. King pitched six scoreless innings, but the Yankees fell 3-1 to the Blue Jays.
German (0-1) received four hits, a walk and a wild pitch while striking out two. He took the loss.
He returned to the team this spring after being out for the entire 2020 season. He attended mandatory counseling during his absence and said he benefited.
German publicly apologized for the incident early in the camp, but declined to discuss the events that led to his suspension. He also addressed his teammates in group and individual settings.
The Yankees welcomed his return, but with some caution.
“We stand behind it,” slugger Luke Voit said in February. “But he’s skating on thin ice.”
German was a prominent contributor before his suspension in 2019, going 18-4 with a 4.03 ERA. On the field, he picked up where he left off this spring, securing third place in New York’s rotation by allowing two runs in 13 innings. He struck out 17 and walked one in four starts in spring training, but lacked that strong dominance Sunday.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone wasn’t sure how New York fans would greet German and said the team hadn’t discussed it with him. Either way, he hoped German would take it easy.
“Obviously, with what’s happened, there will probably be some polarizing reactions at times, and you have to deal with that,” Boone said. “And it will.”
Associated Press contributed to this report.