Yankees suffer devastating blow to starting rotation

domingo german, yankees
May 6, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Domingo German (0) looks down during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees encountered a significant setback to their starting pitching rotation on Tuesday night. After delivering three scoreless innings, Domingo German was abruptly ejected from the game upon inspection of his hand for sticky substances.

German was already under scrutiny after a similar incident during his last game, although in that instance, the umpiring team merely instructed him to clean his hands rather than expelling him.

Prior to Tuesday’s game, German had conceded just four earned runs in his last three appearances. His ERA for the season had been reduced to 3.75 across 48 innings, yet there was no noticeable enhancement in his spin rate, which is typically the first metric to improve when sticky substances are utilized.

Nonetheless, the umpiring team stated it was the worst instance they had ever encountered, suggesting he may have been using a different, prohibited substance.

“His hand was clearly shiny on the palm and his fingertips, and it was extremely sticky,” crew chief James Hoye told reporters after the game. “So [Reyburn] called me over and said: ‘Hey, take a look at this.’ And the instant I looked at his hand, it was extremely shiny and extremely sticky. It’s the stickiest hand I’ve ever felt, and same with DJ.

Intriguingly, German maintains it was merely rosin and sweat, though the chewing tobacco he was using might have contributed to the extra stickiness.

“It was definitely just the rosin bag,” Germán said through an interpreter. “It was sweat and the rosin bag. I don’t need any extra help to grab the baseball.”

Regrettably, the Yankees will likely be without German, one of their more consistent starters this year, for at least ten games. The mandatory suspension ensures German won’t return until late May, presenting a considerable predicament for the starting rotation.

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The Yankees need pitching support now:

The Yankees anticipate the return of Luis Severino over the weekend, which is timely, but the bullpen is drastically depleted, and they simply cannot depend on Clarke Schmidt and Jhony Brito to deliver. The offense will need to considerably step up in the next two weeks, compensating for significant concerns.

With Gerrit Cole taking the mound on Wednesday night, the Yankees will need him to cover at least six innings, affording the bullpen a reprieve and a chance to contemplate their forward strategy.

Given Schmidt’s ERA of 6.30 and Brito’s 5.20, the Yankees urgently require reinforcements. The problem is, German’s suspension leaves the Yankees with one less roster spot. They are not permitted to replace him, implying they must demote one of their position players to accommodate a pitcher or draft in a starting-level arm from the minor-league system to fulfill a variety of roles.

Regardless, the Yankees face a significant challenge and will likely have no option but to summon an additional arm.