Domingo German Yankees future hinges on Hal Steinbrenner’s approval

2 weeks ago
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If Hal Steinbrenner is convinced Domingo German has turned his life around after being suspended for violating MLB’s domestic abuse policy, the Yankees may not need to chase after a starter — other than Masahiro Tanaka — via a trade or free agency.

German was suspended over a 2019 domestic violence incident that involved the mother of his child. After the Yankees’ season ended with a loss to the Rays in the ALDS, Steinbrenner, speaking on “The Michael Kay Show’’ said he had to feel comfortable the 28-year-old deeply regrets the violence incident and has turned his life around.

Steinbrenner, asked by The Post on Tuesday via email if he had spoken to German, didn’t reply.

What Steinbrenner hears from German, who was suspended for the final 18 games in 2019, missed all 60 this year and is eligible to return for the 2021 season, will determine if the right-hander, who won 18 games in 2019, will be welcomed back in The Bronx.

The Yankees might have to count on neophytes Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt to fill the back end of the rotation, so German would be an asset if he can rebound from not having pitched against big-league hitters since Sept. 18, 2019.

Former Mets and Yankees pitcher Dwight Gooden, who sat out the entire 1995 season (he was a free agent at the time) due to a suspension for violating his aftercare program and baseball’s drug policy, understands the challenges German would have to handle.

Domingo German and Hal Steinbrenner
Domingo German and Hal SteinbrennerJason Szenes; AP

Reached by The Post at his Long Island residence, Gooden said the physical challenges will be tougher than the mental ones.

“Mentally, you feel good because you haven’t pitched and don’t feel pain or soreness,’’ Gooden said by phone. “You can throw all you want, run all you want, lift weights and get all the work you can in between the lines but there is no way you can replicate game conditions.’’

Gooden, who signed with the Yankees as a free agent prior to the 1996 season, went to Puerto Rico to pitch in three winter league games. His advice to German, who is pitching for Toros del Este in the Dominican Winter League and threw four hitless and scoreless innings Monday night, is to pitch more than he did.

“Three games, it should have been longer,’’ Gooden said. “I worked out at Eckerd College [in St. Petersburg, Fla.], but at the same time got into some bad [pitching] habits.’’

Gooden was dropped from the Yankees’ rotation after he opened the 1996 season with an 0-3 record and an 11.48 ERA. Gooden returned to the rotation in late April, and four starts later, he pitched a no-hitter against the Mariners on May 14 in a 2-0 victory. He finished the season 11-7 with a 5.01 ERA in 29 starts.

From a pitching standpoint, Gooden said the Yankees should welcome German back.

“He pitched well and doesn’t cost anything,’’ Gooden said of German, who was paid $ 578,000 in 2019. “They have to bring him back.’’

Considering the Yankees’ current rotation consists of ace Gerrit Cole and the still developing Jordan Montgomery, there certainly is room for German, even if Tanaka re-signs. The Yankees are high on Garcia and Schmidt, but they have a combined 40 ²/₃ big-league innings over a combined nine games. Luis Severino is rebounding from Tommy John surgery and isn’t expected back at least until June.

In 55 big-league games (38 starts) German is 20-11 with a 4.52 ERA. As a starter, he is 18-9 with a 4.92 ERA.

The Yankees have been down the domestic violence path with Aroldis Chapman. They acquired the hard-throwing closer from the Reds on Dec. 28, 2015, though he faced an MLB suspension from an Oct. 30, 2015 incident. Chapman accepted a 30-day ban during spring training despite saying he was innocent.

After trading Chapman to the Cubs in July 2016 the Yankees brought the left-hander back as a free agent with a five-year deal for $ 86 million in December 2016. Chapman signed a three-year extension for $ 48 million in November 2019 instead of opting out.

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Baseball | New York Post

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