Ah, shit. Here we go again.
The Yankees got Didi Gregorius back for his first game of the season on Friday. We know the rule is that when someone gets healthy on this team, someone has to take their place on the injured list. It took a couple of days, but we found out that Domingo German will, in fact, be the one that goes on the IL. Rules are rules.
It was announced this morning that German was placed on the 10-day IL with a hip flexor strain. LHP Stephen Tarpley was called up as the corresponding move.
I don’t know if this was an overuse injury or if he had been playing through this injury for a while, but if he has had this injury for any sort of extended period, then it makes sense why German has struggled over his last several outings.
As far as recovery, the Yankees have not said anything about the severity of the injury or a recovery timeline as far as I’ve seen. A quick google tells me that hip flexor strains can be pretty brutal. The hip flexor is generally used for lifting your (in German’s case, left) leg, which German does at least 80-100 times a game as a right-handed pitcher. It sounds like a situation where he is going to miss at least a handful of starts (he mathematically has to miss at least one or two, but I’m talking like 3-5 starts), and if it is particularly bad we could be looking at about a 6-week timetable for a return.
Again, the Yankees haven’t said anything about how severe this injury is, but if you haven’t learned to be pessimistic with Yankee timetables by now, then I don’t know what to tell you.
German is obviously a big loss for the Yankees. He has been the best overall starting pitcher this season. Because of him, we haven’t felt that much of a sense of urgency to get Luis Severino back. German has pitched 70.0 innings this season to a 3.86 ERA and a 116 ERA+ overall. His ERA was as low as 1.75 after five starts, and it was still below three (2.60) on May 21. The starts in Kansas City and Cleveland have been particularly bad and have messed up the overall numbers. Even during his good portion of the season, he ran into times where a run or two would score on him that, if you were watching, felt like it shouldn’t count and messed up his pitching lines. My point is that most of his season has been fantastic, and I hope he resumes that fantastic play when he is healthy.
As for Tarpley, I really liked what we saw from him in 2018. He cracked the opening day roster this year, but struggled. He has appeared in six major league games this season (4.1 IP) and has a 10.38 ERA. Coincidentally, that is the same mark has his strikeouts per nine innings, which is kinda fun. With AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, he has a 1.50 ERA in 18.0 innings. I hope we get the latter guy.
To fill German’s spot in the rotation, I guess we’re going with openers/bullpen days for now. My guess is that Chance Adams will come up to be the biggest innings-eater for those days, with Chad Green starting them, but that is just a guess. Nestor Cortes is up right now, but he is going to eat some innings on Sunday in the Tanaka spot in the rotation, so he could not be ready in time for the German slot. Either way.
In general, this obviously sucks. No two ways about it. I just wish that there was a free agent starting pitcher available to be had on a reasonably priced one-year deal. Shucks.