In between the third and fourth innings, German was stopped before heading to the mound by the umpires. They performed a substance check on the right-hander and told him to wipe his hands before he could return to his start.
After a few moments, German obliged and was allowed to return to the game.
“When I went back out, the discussion was intense,” German said through the team’s interpreter. “There was a moment there that I thought things were going to get out of hand but I was able to explain and tell them that I have a rosin bag in the dugout where I sit all the time. [The umpire] was able to talk that over and understand. …and they said ok and go back out there and pitch.”
German was told about the tackiness on his hand when the third inning ended, but when he came out for the fourth inning and had some of the rosin still on his hands it threw up a red flag for the umpires.
When he was allowed to return to the mound after the warning, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli came out and argued his case. He was then ejected from the game.
“Their pitcher was warmed or asked to clean his hand off of the rosin on his hand,” Baldelli said after the game. “He didn’t fully comply with the warning, from what I was told and was still allowed to keep pitching. That’s it. I don’t agree with that.
“I would expect all teams to get that courtesy and overall I feel the umpires have done a good job of that. But when [German] comes back out he doesn’t comply with what he was asked to, has something on his hand that he shouldn’t and then there’s an entire huddle of Yankees around the umpires while they are trying to have a discussion on the field, and then he casually can walk to the field and keep pitching. It goes against a lot of the things we talked about this year and some of the adjustments that we are making in baseball. I was upset at it and that’s it.”
Yankees manager Aaron Boone, who was part of that “huddle,” explained that the Twins didn’t call for the substance check but it was the umpires. He also reiterated that German always has a rosin bag in the dugout and doesn’t use the one on the mound like many other pitchers do, which is what likely drew the umpires’ attention.
Regardless, the incident didn’t deter German’s career day. The 30-year-old wound up pitching 6.1 innings, giving up one run on three hits and striking out a career-high 11 batters. He even had a perfect game going into the sixth inning after retiring the first 16 batters he faced.
Boone credited German’s fastball and curveball for his successful start. German used the curveball to get swing and misses, and the four-seamer and sinker to sneak it past batters who expected his secondary pitches.
“I’ve been a pitcher that is able to throw strikes,” German said. “Today, that’s what I was doing. The opposing manager felt different, I guess, but that’s what I’ve been doing my whole career.”