(Photo Credit: REUTERS/TROY TAORMINA)
The collective hearts of Yankees fandom all went to a standstill when it was announced Jordan Montgomery was pulled from Tuesdays' start due to feeling tightness in his elbow.
Those same hearts were resuscitated when Domingo German, in an emergency appearance, pitched four shutout innings with four strikeouts. It was a heroic performance overshadowed by the late-game three-run blast off the bat of Gary Sanchez, and by this strange spectacle.
Now, it has been announced Montgomery will go on the 10-day DL with a strained left-elbow and the fears of something more serious can be, at the moment, put to rest. But as the Yankees are in need to fill the vacancy left by Montgomery's injury, German will be the next man in line to contribute to a team that is playing its best baseball of the early season.
You are forgiven if German's name doesn't ring any bells, but he's a kid with potential.
Who is he?
Domingo German was 19 years old when he signed with the Florida Marlins from the Dominican Republic. At 6'2" and a wiry 175 pounds, German harnesses a powerful fastball in those long limbs that has both movement and drop while sitting anywhere from the low to mid 90's.
It was the fastball that interested the Yankees when they acquired him from the Marlins for David Phelps and Martin Prado prior to the 2015 season. It's been rated a 65 on a scale of 80, making it by far his best pitch in a three-pitch mix that includes a changeup and a curveball.
His time spent in the minors was a success. In his time on the farm, he compiled a 2.54 ERA over 452.2 innings pitched. His minor league career was highlighted when he struck out both Kris Bryant and Joey Gallo in the 2014 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, and not once did he have an earned run average over four.
But the minors revealed fragility in his arm. He missed all of 2016 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and only twice did he accumulate over 100 innings in a season between any level. The minors also showed he often struggles with locating his pitches. His delivery to the plate involves several moving parts, and often it seems as if he struggles to get everything in sync. He walked 134 batters in those 452.2 innings, accompanied by an additional 16 walks in 28.2 major league innings.
German has earned this audition for the Yankees' roster. Although his experience in the big leagues has been limited to just bullpen appearances as a middle to long reliever, he has shown the ability to handle MLB batters.
There is a similarity in terms of repertoire between German and Luis Severino as both feature plus fastballs with velocity and movement, and complementary secondary pitches to keep hitters off-balance. That's not to say German is the next Severino by any means, but both often feature the same plan of attack with pitching off of the fastball.
And German, at 25 years old, has shown composure at this level. Now he'll get a chance to showcase his talent on Sunday, his first scheduled start in the big leagues against the Cleveland Indians.