TAMPA — In a move that was surprising in its timing, the Yankees sent down Deivi Garcia on Friday night. The young right hander broke out as a starter in last year’s coronavirus pandemic-shortened season, but also showed he still needed some experience.
He was technically pitching for a spot with Domingo German this spring. It was clear early on, however, that German, who missed all of the 2020 season, was not only more experienced but more effective and would win a spot in the rotation.
Garcia struck out 14 and pitched to a 3.86 ERA over 14 innings pitched this spring. German, who served an 81-game suspension under MLB’s domestic violence policy in 2019 and 2020, has not allowed an earned run in nine innings over three appearances. He also struck out 13 batters and has not issued a walk.
While Aaron Boone raved about the fact German does not seem to have any rust after having not pitched in “big league games” since 2019, scouts who saw German said his stuff has been electric.
“German would be my No. 2 on that staff,” one National League scout said. “He’s got the best stuff outside of Cole. He’s got better stuff right now than (two-time Cy Young winner Corey) Kluber.”
But the demotion of the 21-year-old Garcia is likely just a temporary move. In a year when workloads will be uncertain, coming off a 2020 season when the pitchers went through a start-and-stop spring training and an abbreviated season, there is no doubt the Yankees — and most teams — will need seven to nine starters to get through the season.
Both Garcia and German are coming in with what will likely be limited innings as Garcia builds up from his career-high 111.1 innings in 2019 and German comes back after having not pitched to big leaguers since September 2019. That was when German was suspended for a domestic violence incident that reportedly began at a charity function where most of the team was in attendance. His return was not without controversy. Zack Britton said that he couldn’t choose his teammates when asked about German’s return and Luke Voit said he was skating on thin ice.
But German was one of the Yankees best pitchers in spring training and arguably the Yankees best starter back in 2019 when he was suspended. He went 18-4 with a 4.03 ERA and struck out 153 in 143.1 innings pitched.
Garcia debuted by pitching six scoreless innings against the Mets last season, but finished the year with some bruises. Over six starts, in 34.1 innings pitched, he posted a 4.98 ERA and gave up six homers. He struck out 33.