For a guy who hasn’t pitched in the Major Leagues in 17 months, Yankees right-hander Domingo Germán looked as sharp as ever on the mound Friday afternoon at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Germán pitched two shutout innings, striking out four batters, as the Yankees and Tigers tied, 1-1.
There was Germán, painting the strike zone with all his pitches. His changeup was his money pitch on the day. He struck out three of the four hitters on the pitch. German’s fastball showed up as he struck out Spencer Torkelson in the second inning.
After he left the game, Germán said that he was excited to be back on the mound.
“It’s good to be back on the field, be back with my teammates,” Germán said. “I felt relaxed and confident. That's exactly what the pitching coach [Matt Blake] told me [do]. That’s what I did.”
Yankees bench coach Carlos Mendoza was impressed with what he saw from Germán.
“I thought he threw the ball really well,” Mendoza said about Germán. “The fastball had life. The changeup was really good. He used it effectively. When he was ahead in the count, he put hitters away. When he was behind in counts, the breaking ball was really good. It was a really good outing for him.”
On Sept. 19, 2019, Germán was suspended for 81 games for violation of Major League Baseball’s policy against domestic violence.
At the time of his suspension, Germán was 18-4 with a 4.03 ERA. His last game before the suspension was Sept. 18, 2019, against the Angels.
German came back this spring and apologized to teammates, manager Aaron Boone, general manager Brian Cashman and the media.
“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 on Feb. 24. “I have made mistakes of which I’m not proud, and for that I want to apologize."
In his return to Steinbrenner Field on Friday, Germán received a normal reception from the crowd. He said going on the mound wasn’t hard. It helped that he played winter ball this offseason, pitchign in five games for Toros del Este of the Dominican Winter League. Although he was hit hard, Germán was convinced he could compete at a high level.
“The confidence is big, and that’s what I felt,” Germán said. “It put me at ease that I could compete, that I could find my way back to being that same pitcher that I was back in 2019.”