Yankees' right-hander Domingo Germán has taken two big steps this spring as he returns to the team following his suspension for violating MLB's domestic violence policy.
Germán spoke to his teammates on Tuesday, meeting with the pitchers and catchers at New York's Player Development Complex before addressing the position players at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Then, on Wednesday, the 28-year-old spoke to the media for the first time since the suspension, publicly apologizing for his actions.
While the starting pitcher is showing that he's determined to win back the trust of everyone in the Yankees organization, simultaneously battling for a roster spot this spring, he's not off the hook just yet.
As has been the case earlier at Yankees camp, Germán's teammates have given the right-hander steady doses of tough love, in addition to their support, as he reintegrates himself with the team.
"He's getting a second chance at this and we have his back, but he's skating on thin ice and he needs to get his life together," Yankees first baseman Luke Voit said on Wednesday. "I think he's doing the right steps to do so, but again, he's got to prove to us that he can do that."
Asked last week about Germán's suspension, over an incident with his girlfriend in September of 2019, Yankees reliever Zack Britton also shared some strong words about his teammate.
"Sometimes you don't get to control who your teammates are," Britton told reporters. "I don't agree with what he did. I don't think it has any place in the game or off the field at all."
Germán addressed Britton's comments directly during his presser on Wednesday afternoon, saying his teammates have every right to make those kind of comments and feel the way that they do.
"A good thing is I had the opportunity to talk with him and he gave me pretty good advice on how I can improve," Germán said through the team's interpreter. "The comments he made were not to be taken personal, more on a professional level. Like I said, from that conversation, he gave me really good advice, which I'm thankful for."
Yankees manager Aaron Boone explained following Germán's meetings with his teammates that he expects more conversations to follow in the coming days and weeks. Across the Yankees' roster, the consensus is that the only way for Germán to show he's making improvements is with his actions going forward.
"It's definitely a big mistake he made and he understands that," slugger Giancarlo Stanton said. "At the same time, it's what are you going to do with that mistake? Are you're going to improve and look to improve to make everyone around you better and improve yourself?"
If Germán can recapture the type of pitching performance he produced two seasons ago, before his suspension kept him on the sidelines, he has a good shot at making New York's starting rotation. The right-hander led the team with 18 wins that year, but hasn't thrown a single pitch in pinstripes ever since.
"I want German to get better. He's my teammate, obviously he's a friend," Voit said. "So we'll be there for him. But we don't condone it and he messed up and a lot of guys look at him differently now ... I'm grateful that he came and apologized yesterday to us and to the organization so he's making strides. But again, there's a lot more left in his career and in his life and hopefully he makes the right decisions."
Germán acknowledged in his apology that his goals are now to live out his dream, playing Major League Baseball, while continuing to grow as an individual off the field. To Boone, Germán has now done enough to earn an opportunity to be back with the team, but there's still more for him to do.
"Now, the proof is in the daily life that he leads," Boone said. "We're certainly going to do all we can to support him, and help him to become the best version of himself possible, but now the proof will be in the days ahead."
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