Domingo Germán’s return is another addition to the Yankees’ All-Star break

With just one week left until the All-Star break, the Yankees hold a 61-24 record, by far the best in baseball, and good for a 15-game lead in the division. One of the most important factors in this terrific first half was the rotation’s exceptional production and the health of all of its members.

Of the 85 games the Yankees have played so far in 2022, only four have been pitched by someone not named Gerrit Cole, Luis Severino, Jordan Montgomery, Nestor Cortes or Jameson Taillon. The five members of the Yankees rotation have been the picture of health, and with all five throwing well (despite the occasional recent struggles), the results overall have been great.

The old adage in baseball is that you can never get enough throwing depth. Plus, no matter how carefully you manage each player’s health, that level of continuity is pretty much unsustainable over a 162-game season.

It’s impossible to predict what health awaits the Yankees in the second half, but in a league where you have to be prepared for all possibilities, manager Aaron Boone has a reinforcement coming in for the second half, even before no movement is made on the trade deadline. .

Domingo Germán recently made his fourth start to rehab of 2022 and his first with the Triple-A team. He’s been out since spring training with a right shoulder disability, but he’s coming back. His last outing Saturday night was his best: shutout on a no-walk hit, one hit per pitch and four strikeouts.

How the Yankees bring Germán back says a lot about the contingencies and keeping your options open. At this time, Germán wouldn’t have a place in the Yankees’ rotation, but he’s being brought back as a starter, although he’s likely to come out of the bullpen upon his return.

Luis Gil is out for the year with Tommy John surgery, and while JP Sears did a good job when called up, the Yankees don’t have many clear depth options with solid experience in the major leagues as a starter, in case an injury occurs. with one of the members of the rotation.

Germán will most likely be that guy for a starting point when needed, and as the unofficial sixth man in the rotation. In his last two seasons in the big leagues (2019 and 2021), Germán threw at 102 ERA+, around league average, and with a WHIP of 1.16. These figures are far from being spectacular, but they are quite adequate for the role that it will be asked to fill.

However, before Germán starts, he looks tagged to return to a multi-inning role out of the bullpen. The Yankees expected Michael King to work towards this before the year, but with Jonathan Loáisiga and Aroldis Chapman on the ground, King worked his way into a bigger role as the Yankees’ main preparer for the new closer Clay. Holmes.

It’s been a while since King took on a different role, and in the meantime Clarke Schmidt served as a bit of a multi-round option and even Manny Bañuelos for a short time. Currently, this role is more or less open, and Germán may be the right person for the job.

Opposing hitters had a 42% smell rate on Germán’s curveball in 2021, and although he only used his lead 15% of the time, it produced a whopping O-Swing percentage of 43.5. Both of these marks are well above league average, and one of the best signs for a lead is for hitters to swing it even when it’s out of the zone. That could be ground to explore in a role in the bullpen.

Germán might have more rehab appearances in store, but since Boone said he “could” be activated before the All-Star break, his return seems imminent. His stuff should play in a bullpen role, and at a time when the Yankees could use a reliable reliever to go several innings, he could come back just in time.

Kimberly B. Nguyen