TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees right-hander Domingo Germán issued a public apology on Wednesday for his actions on the evening of Sept. 16, 2019, which precipitated an 81-game suspension for violation of Major League Baseball’s policy against domestic violence.
Germán said that he is thankful for an opportunity to resume his Major League career. The hurler previously addressed his teammates in two separate sessions this week. He also has spoken privately with general manager Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone, whom he thanked for their patience.
“I want to take this opportunity to sincerely apologize to the Steinbrenner family, my teammates, the front office and those around me who love me,” Germán said through an interpreter. “I have made mistakes of which I’m not proud, and for that I want to apologize.
“When the team needed me most in 2019 before we started the playoffs, I wasn’t there for them, and for that I ask your forgiveness. It was very difficult for me not to be pitching and helping my team. Having to watch from afar hurt me a lot, but I also understand that I am responsible for putting myself in that position.”
Germán's apology comes a few days after The Athletic, citing multiple sources, published new details of the incident that led to his suspension. Germán said that he and his girlfriend, Mara Vega, remain together.
“He’s getting a second chance at this,” said Yankees first baseman Luke Voit. “We have his back, but he’s skating on thin ice. He needs to get his life together. I think he’s doing the right steps to do so, but he’s got to prove to us that he can do that.”
Germán’s suspension included mandatory counseling and spanned 18 games during the 2019 regular season and postseason, carrying through the entire pandemic-shortened 2020 regular season. Last summer, Germán briefly announced his retirement on Instagram, later explaining to Cashman that he was frustrated by not being able to resume play.
“Regarding social media, I understand that I have not used it in an appropriate way,” Germán said. “I have caused a lot of confusion. Although my reason has been to connect with fans, I must do it in a better way.”
Some of Germán’s teammates expressed reluctance in welcoming him back to the clubhouse. Left-hander Zack Britton said that “sometimes you don’t get to control who your teammates are,” a comment which prompted the club to explore avenues in which Germán could address players behind closed doors.
“I did see [Britton’s] comments. He has a right to comment,” Germán said. “I understood where he was coming from. I had the opportunity to talk with him, and he basically gave me pretty good advice on how I can improve. The comments he made were not to be taken personal; more on a professional level.”
Yankees outfielder/designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton said that having Germán address the team was “a very smart move” for the club.
“Once you can get up and stand in front of the team and address how you’re feeling and how you’d like things to go, that’s when the dynamic changes from silence,” Stanton said. “It’s definitely good that he did that and is moving forward. We’re all here. That’s what a team is for. In the clubhouse, we all have difficult things go on; some a lot worse than others. It’s our job to support in the right way.”
Germán said that he did not speak directly with Hal Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ managing general partner. Steinbrenner has said that he wants Germán to show “deep, deep regrets” before allowing him to pitch in a big league game again. Germán has one option remaining, so the Yankees could send him down to start the season.
At the time of the incident, Germán was among the club’s better starting pitchers, having compiled an 18-4 record with a 4.03 ERA in 27 games (24 starts) during the ’19 season. Boone said that the organization continues to view Germán as a starting pitcher, though it remains to be seen if he can reclaim his form.
“My goal is to work hard and retake my career,” Germán said. “It has always been my dream to pitch in the Major Leagues, and I am so thankful to still have that dream in front of me.”