Yankees’ Domingo German Suspended 81 Games for Domestic Violence

Yankees’ Domingo German Suspended 81 Games for Domestic Violence

The Yankees learned on Thursday that Domingo German, the young pitcher who led the team in victories last season, will be suspended until early June under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy.

The league announced that German, 27, had accepted an 81-game, unpaid suspension stemming from an incident in September involving German and his girlfriend, with whom he has at least one child, at his residence in Yonkers. No criminal charges were filed against German, who has agreed not to appeal the suspension.

German was placed on administrative leave last Sept. 19 as M.L.B. began an investigation, and he did not appear in any regular season or postseason games for the rest of the year. He was held out of 18 games during the investigation, making him ineligible for the Yankees’ first 63 games this season. The Yankees’ 64th game is scheduled for June 5.

Because he has already missed one postseason for the violation, German will be allowed to participate if the Yankees qualify for the 2020 postseason (though he will not be permitted to play in spring training games).

German will make a donation to Sanctuary for Families, a New York organization that helps victims of domestic violence, and he will take part in an evaluation and treatment program.

“We remain steadfast in our support of Major League Baseball’s investigative process and the disciplinary action taken regarding Domingo German,” the Yankees said in a statement. “Domestic violence — in any form — is a gravely serious matter that affects every segment of our society.”

The statement added: “We are encouraged by Domingo’s acceptance of his discipline, and we sincerely hope this indicates a commitment to making a meaningful and positive change in his personal conduct.”

German was 18-4 last season (his .818 winning percentage was the best in the major leagues), though his earned run average was a middling 4.03 and he worked only 143 innings. The Yankees, who anticipated that German would miss time this season, have five reliable starters without him, including the newly acquired Gerrit Cole; Luis Severino; James Paxton; Masahiro Tanaka; and J.A. Happ, with Jordan Montgomery as insurance.

German’s suspension is the fourth-longest to be issued since baseball implemented its domestic-violence policy in 2015, after San Diego pitcher Jose Torres (100 games in 2017), Philadelphia outfielder Odubel Herrera (85 games in 2019) and Atlanta outfielder Hector Olivera (82 games in 2016). None of those players have appeared in the majors since their suspensions.

Herrera hit a career-low .222 last season, and while he is signed through 2021, the Phillies have not committed to giving him a spot on their 25-man roster. Like Herrera, Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell was an All-Star in 2016 but has slumped since then, hitting a career-low .237 last season after finishing a 40-game domestic-violence suspension that began in 2018. The Cubs did not tender a 2020 contract to Russell, a former franchise cornerstone who is now an unsigned free agent.

Yet history shows that if a player is a star, teams will be willing to employ him even after a domestic-violence suspension. The Yankees traded for closer Aroldis Chapman before the 2016 season, though he was facing discipline for an incident in which he fired eight shots from a gun into his garage wall in Davie, Fla., after an argument with his girlfriend, who said he had put his hands around her neck. Chapman served a 30-game suspension at the start of that season and has remained one of baseball’s best closers.

Another top closer, Roberto Osuna, was traded from Toronto to Houston in 2018 while serving a 75-game suspension for domestic violence. Osuna has pitched well for the Astros, but his place on the team remains a divisive topic; when the Astros won the American League pennant in October, the assistant general manager Brandon Taubman boasted profanely about acquiring Osuna to a group of female reporters in the clubhouse. The outburst — and the team’s subsequent lies about what happened — led to Taubman’s firing.

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