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USATSI

The New York Yankees lost to the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday, dropping them to 3-5 on the season after three consecutive losses. While it's usually only fans pining for changes this early in the year, the Yankees themselves made a roster move after the game that will impact their starting rotation. That's because the Yankees optioned righty Domingo German, who had started Saturday's contest, to the alternate site.

No corresponding move has been announced, but manager Aaron Boone told reporters that the Yankees will discuss adding a fresh reliever for Sunday's series finale.

German had edged out top prospect Deivi Garcia for the fifth starter's job during spring training. In two outings, he had allowed 12 hits and seven runs over seven frames. German's seven strikeouts didn't obscure how he had allowed four home runs, including two on Saturday against the Rays that put the Yankees in an early hole.

German, 28, did not pitch in 2020 as he served a season-long suspension for violating the league's domestic violence policy. German's teammates appeared less than thrilled that he was still a member of the roster as of spring. "Sometimes you don't get to control who your teammates are, and that's the situation," reliever Zack 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."

Unless the Yankees give the nod to Michael King or recent veteran addition Mike Montgomery, the aforementioned Garcia would seem to be the favorite to replace German in the rotation. He entered the spring ranked by CBS Sports as the Yankees' top prospect. Here's what we wrote at the time of the ranking:

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. 

German's now-vacated spot in the rotation won't come around again until Friday, April 16. The Yankees are scheduled to host the Rays that night. The date matters, because pitchers who are optioned to the minors must spend 15 days on the farm before they're allowed to be recalled. (The exceptions are if an injury occurs or the player is joining the roster as the 27th player for a doubleheader.) It is worth noting the Yankees have the previous day off, meaning they could go without a fifth starter until the following week, if they so desired.