Yanks’ Germán cheered in return, struggles vs Blue Jays

NEW YORK — Domingo Germán was cheered by Yankees fans in his return from a domestic violence suspension but struggled against the Toronto Blue Jays, allowing three runs in three innings on Sunday.

Germán hadn’t pitched since Sept. 18, 2019, due to an 81-game ban under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy after an alleged incident involving his girlfriend, with whom he has at least one child.

The 28-year-old was applauded by fans in right field after he bolted out of the dugout for warmups about 35 minutes before first pitch — he pointed and acknowledged them as he sprinted by. He got more cheers from the crowd of roughly 10,000 after completing a 12-pitch first inning.

The right-hander allowed a solo homer to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and a two-run shot to Randal Grichuk in the second, repeatedly leaving the ball up in the strike zone on an afternoon with a 59-degree temperature at gametime. He needed 34 pitches to get out of the inning.

He labored through 22 more pitches in the third but escaped without further damage and was replaced by Michael King to start the fourth.

Germán was charged with four hits, a walk and a wild pitch while striking out two.

He returned to the team this spring after being away for all of the 2020 season. He attended mandatory counseling while away and said he benefited.

Germán publicly apologized for the incident early in camp but refused to discuss the events that led to his suspension. He also addressed teammates in group and individual settings.

The Yankees welcomed his return — but with some wariness.

“We have his back,” slugger Luke Voit said in February. “But he’s skating on thin ice.”

Germán was a breakout contributor before his ban in 2019, going 18-4 with a 4.03 ERA. On the field, he picked up where he left off this spring, locking up the No. 3 spot in New York’s rotation by allowing two runs in 13 innings. He struck out 17 and walked one in four spring training starts, but he lacked that sharp command Sunday.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone wasn’t sure how New York fans would greet Germán and said the team hadn’t discussed it with him. Either way, he expected Germán to take it in stride.

“Obviously with what he’s been through, there’s going to be probably some polarizing reactions at times, and you’ve got to deal with that,” Boone said. “And he will.”

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