Yanks’ Germán cheered in return, struggles vs. Blue Jays

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — Domingo German 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.

German 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.

German 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.

German 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.”

German 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 German and said the team hadn’t discussed it with him. Either way, he expected German 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.”

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

Minnesota Twis v Kansas City Royals
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.