The Yankees activated Domingo German from the 10-day IL on Wednesday and he will start Wednesday night’s game at Citi Field against the Mets. LHP Stephen Tarpley was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to open up a spot on the 25-man roster.
German was placed on the IL on June 9 with a hip injury. They had been filling his spot in the rotation with bullpen days, namely the Chad Green and Nestor Cortes combination. He threw one rehab game last week and was largely effective.
Domingo is having a breakout season of sorts. His last 3-5 starts before being placed on the IL seemed to be some combination of a regression to the mean or proof of the hip injury, as evidenced by a spike in home runs against him. Hopefully it is the latter. His ERA before his start in Kansas City, where he says the injury took place, was 2.60 in 55.1 IP. That was up from a 1.75 ERA one month into the season just a few starts earlier. His last three starts working through the injury have bloated his numbers. His ERA is up by over a full point to 3.86 after those three appearances.
If German goes back to the guy we saw for the first six weeks of the season, that would be tremendous. The Yankees now have a full rotation again of German, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, CC Sabathia, and JA Happ. All but Happ appear to be on the upswing, particularly if you don’t count Tanaka’s London start since that series was just bonkers.
There are question marks with German, like the other Yankee starters. German has a colorful injury history and we know that he is on an innings limit. Would having Chad Green open for him (“ChadMingo”) help him stay effective and limit his inning count? Probably. Would the Yankees consider making him a multiple-inning bullpen option in the second half of the season to limit his innings? If they get another starter then it is definitely possible.
The return of German doesn’t mean Brian Cashman won’t keep looking for more rotation help. We know German can work out of the bullpen if everyone’s healthy, but what are the odds we don’t get another IL stint out of this rotation? I’d place them at about one percent. They obviously need another starter, regardless, and even if somehow everyone stays healthy its easy to see how the roles would shuffle with the addition of another starter. The adage remains that you can never have too much pitching depth.