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Yankees' Domingo German appreciative of second chance, excited about Sunday's start

Yankees pitcher Domingo German delivers during the first

Yankees pitcher Domingo German delivers during the first inning of a spring training game against the Phillies in Tampa, Fla., on March 15. Credit: AP/Gene J. Puskar

Domingo German wants to start again.

It’s no secret why: It’s been 19 months since he pitched in a real game — the result of an 81-game suspension he served for allegedly slapping his then-girlfriend at a charity event in full view of his Yankees teammates and continuing the abuse later at home. And after apologies and social media posts, and the blessing of his manager and the Yankees, German hopes Sunday's start against the Blue Jays will be a chance to "turn the page."

"The opportunity, it means a lot to me," German said through an interpreter Saturday. "It's not easy to be a big- leaguer and plenty of players have gone through something similar and they've never had the opportunity to come back or find themselves in an Opening Day roster. For me, I'm thankful for the opportunity and at the same time, I want to show that when you get a second chance, you want to do things right. You want to be there for them, you want to be there for my teammates. We make mistakes and it's also possible to learn from it and move forward."

Boone seemed more than ready to put the past behind them and has slotted German in as the third starter after a strong spring training in which he allowed two runs in 13 innings, walking one and striking out 17, and showed little signs of rust after playing winter ball.

"We know how talented a pitcher he is, and we know the season he had in 2019," Boone said of German, who went 18-4 with a 4.04 ERA. "Understandably, [there was] a lot of buzz around him at the start of camp and I feel like there’s some good conversations had between him and the club and different individuals. I feel like every step of the way, he’s done a great job to this point, and I’m excited to see him out there tomorrow."

It’s potentially a nerve-wracking event: Though many fans think fondly of his 2019 season, plenty still bristle at the alleged actions against his now-wife, who has said she has forgiven him. But he felt fan support in Tampa during spring training and isn’t overly concerned about that aspect. His greatest focus is making good on the chance the organization has given him.

"It's so exciting," he said. "It's been a long time . . .I understand it's important. Having pitched in the big leagues before, it's very important to keep in check the anxiety and the excitement that I'm going to feel. So I want to make sure I do that so I can have a better performance tomorrow. I'm grateful, grateful to the Steinbrenner family for this opportunity."

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