Yankees Injury Updates: Starting pitcher shines in rehab assignment, closer set for action

New York Yankees, Domingo german
Mar 10, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Domingo German (55) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees had an eventful Wednesday, packed full of positive news after winning the final game of the three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays down in Florida. With clutch hitting and great bullpen pitching, the team stepped up and showed once again how resilient they can be, despite losing two of their last three games prior to Wednesday’s win.

However, the team is also riding a high after starting pitcher Domingo German had a successful rehab assignment with single-A Tampa. German went three scoreless innings and is scheduled to make a return to the active roster within the next 30 days barring any setbacks.

“This is a big one,’’ Aaron Boone said after German’s outing.

What will German offer the Yankees upon his return?

German has been dealing with a shoulder issue for quite some time, posting a 4.58 ERA last season over 98 innings pitched. Domingo was a primary starter for the Bombers last year, but the rotation is set and his main impact may serve as a relief arm in the middle innings.

In 2021, German was only reaching 93.5 mph with his fastball, significantly down from 96.4 mph in 2017. With his velocity down, German is going to have to rely far more on his breaking ball, which could make him more hittable a few times through the batting order.

German will continue to work against live batters and prepare for a return next month.

Chapman is also fighting his way back:

In addition to German, closer Aroldis Chapman is also gearing up for a rehab game with double-A Somerset over the weekend. Chapman recently indicated that he will accept any role Boone wants to utilize him in upon his return. Chapman has already fought his way for the closer spot, similar to what Clay Holmes has achieved this season.

It is nice to see that Chapman is willing to give up the closer role to Holmes, helping the team wherever he can after spending a few weeks on the injured list with Achilles tendinitis. If the Yankees want a chance to win a World Series this year, some players are going to have to make sacrifices, and Chapman is willing to make a big one for the greater good of the team.

“I’ve already gone through that,” Chapman said of when he first became a closer with the Reds in 2012. “When I got to the major leagues, they gave me the opportunity to close and I took advantage of the opportunity. Pretty much the same thing is happening to [Holmes]. If he has that role, it is because he is doing well.”

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