After a second consecutive shaky start to begin the season, Domingo Germán was optioned to the Yankees' alternate site on Saturday.
The right-hander allowed four runs on eight hits over four innings in a shutout loss to the Rays earlier in the afternoon, serving up two home runs. Germán also allowed a pair of homers in his 2021 debut against the Blue Jays last week at Yankee Stadium.
"Other than [the two home runs], I thought he threw the ball okay," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after the loss. "He had a little more life on his fastball today, thought he settled in pretty well and started commanding his secondary stuff pretty well."
Germán has now allowed at least one long ball in 12 straight starts, dating back to July 18, 2019.
Even with Boone's positive outlook on Germán's performance, New York decided to option the right-hander later in the day. After starter Corey Kluber lasted just 2.1 innings in Friday's loss to Tampa Bay, New York's bullpen had been forced to eat up plenty of innings. This decision is likely more of a way to free a spot in the bullpen for another arm rather than a sign that the coaching staff is moving on from Germán in the rotation.
"Overall, I don't feel like [Germán] is far off from dialing in a good one." Boone said.
With no off days for the next four days, a corresponding move will be made on Sunday to bolster New York's depth in the 'pen.
Boone has also hinted at utilizing a creative approach with the Yankees' rotation early on this season. Germán's spot in the starting staff won't come around again for more than a week since the Yankees are off in exactly five days.
Germán didn't throw a single big-league pitch last season as he served the remainder of his 81-game ban for violating the league's domestic violence policy. When he rejoined the team this spring, the focus for Germán was regaining the trust of his teammates, showing that he's grown off the field.
The right-hander addressed the team multiple times, receiving some tough love from veterans across New York's roster. His performance in Grapefruit League play eventually brought eyes back to his abilities on the mound as Germán was arguably New York's best pitcher throughout spring training.
Giving up just two runs in 13 innings, Germán earned a spot in New York's rotation. Evidently, that spring success hasn't carried into the regular season.
"Spring training and the regular season are just different," Germán said through the Yankees interpreter on Saturday. "I do feel really good. Today I felt that I was more aggressive in the zone and I was able to attack those guys. But that's how it goes. Hitters make adjustments, then it's up to us as pitchers to make adjustments."
If the Yankees do elect to bring up a different starter to fill Germán's place in the rotation, keep an eye on pitching prospect Deivi García. The 21-year-old was beat out for the job by Germán this spring and has been situated at New York's Alternate Site ever since, biding his time before his number is called with the big-league club.
Otherwise, New York could fill the role by committee. Right-hander Michael King proved he can shut a team down with his brilliant performance—six shutout innings in relief—last week. That was the same day Germán lasted three frames against Toronto, meaning King is already lined up to pitch in that slot of the rotation.
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