Domingo German will enter his first major league start on Sunday against Cleveland at the Stadium with serious aspirations: to stay in the Yankees’ starting rotation.
The 25-year-old righthander is the first man up to fill the spot that was Jordan Montgomery’s before he suffered an elbow strain that will sideline him for six to eight weeks. When Montgomery was forced from Tuesday’s game against the Astros after one inning, German came out of the bullpen and gave the Yankees four scoreless innings of relief.
“I want to go out there and do a good job so that I can create a bigger opportunity for myself and hopefully stay in the rotation,” German said through an interpreter.
Manager Aaron Boone said German will be given the opportunity to earn more starts, though he isn’t sure how many innings or pitches he can ask of him in this first one.
“He’s a guy we have a lot of confidence in, who’s pitched very well for us. We feel like he’s more than capable of stepping in there in a starting role,” Boone said. “[He’s] not quite as stretched out, obviously, as he was to start the season, but we feel good about him being able to hopefully get us through the middle of the game and with quality. . . . . I feel very good about giving him the ball in that situation and I would expect him to go on for at least a couple turns.”
In five relief appearances since he was called up from Triple-A Columbus on April 7, German has a 3.77 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 14 1⁄3 innings. He was acquired from Miami along with Nathan Eovaldi in the 2014 trade of Martin Prado and subsequently was re-signed by the Yankees in 2015. Reaching the Yankees’ starting rotation has been the goal ever since.
“I’ve been thinking about this for a long, long time,” German said. “It’s going to be a dream come true. I am thankful for the manager giving me this opportunity.”
He said he paid special attention as CC Sabathia fired six scoreless innings on Friday night at the same lineup he will face and called being in the dugout instead of the bullpen “a front-row seat to learn.” He also has sought the advice of Luis Severino.
“He gave me a couple of pointers of how to face big-league hitters,” German said. “The thing he mentioned [was] being aggressive and getting ahead of the count. He went on to explain why that’s so important to do, especially in the big leagues.”