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Yankees demote top prospect Deivi Garcia, setting rotation ahead of Opening Day

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The New York Yankees optioned right-hander Deivi Garcia to the minors on Friday, thereby ending their spring-long competition for the fifth starter’s position. Garcia’s demotion means the spot will instead go to fellow right-hander Domingo German.

Garcia, 21, started five times during the exhibition season and managed a 3.86 ERA and a 1.75 strikeout-to-walk ratio against competition that was roughly Triple-A caliber on average, according to Baseball-Reference’s calculations. 

Garcia entered the spring ranked by CBS Sports as the Yankees’ best prospect. Here’s what we wrote at the time:

Garcia made his big-league debut in 2020, compiling a 4.98 ERA and a 5.50 strikeout-to-walk ratio across six regular season starts. He later became the youngest Yankees pitcher to start a postseason contest since Whitey Ford. That’s a nice little beginning to a career, huh? Garcia has the stuff and the athleticism to start — his curveball is likely to be subject to many GIFs — but his size is going to be held against him until he’s able to string together high-quality outings. Garcia is capable of delivering just that, and for the time being the Yankees seem committed to giving him the opportunity. 

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German, 28, missed the entire 2020 campaign while serving out a suspension for violating the league’s domestic violence policy late the previous season. Several of German’s teammates, including reliever Zack Britton, have since expressed weariness about his continued employment. “Sometimes you don’t get to control who your teammates are, and that’s the situation,” Britton told reporters. “I don’t agree with what he did. I don’t think it has any place in the game or off the field at all.”

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German made three spring training appearances, striking out 13 batters and allowing five hits, one walk, and zero runs in nine innings of work.

The rest of the Yankees rotation is expected to include Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Corey Kluber, and Jordan Montgomery. Taillon also did not pitch in the majors in 2020, while Kluber was limited to a single inning. The Yankees do expect to get Luis Severino back from Tommy John surgery this summer. That’s a positive development for a team who will need all the depth it can muster to weather a full season. 


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