Domingo Germán ejected, Aaron Judge booed as allegations of cheating swirl around Yankees

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New York Yankees starting pitcher Domingo German walks to the dugout after the third inning of the team’s baseball game agains the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, in Toronto.
Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP

TORONTO (AP) — New York Yankees right-hander Domingo Germán was ejected from Tuesday night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays after umpires checked his hands for banned sticky stuff.

Germán’s ejection, likely to trigger a 10-game suspension, was the fourth since Major League Baseball started its crackdown on prohibited grip aids two years ago and the second this season. It occurred during the second game of an increasingly acrimonious series between AL East rivals.

Aaron Judge was booed during his first two at-bats following allegations of sign stealing Monday. After Judge struck out in the third inning Tuesday, there was a brief shouting match between Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker and Yankees third base coach Luis Rojas. Walker went to the outfield end of the dugout,, yelling and gesturing at Rojas, a former Mets manager.

Germán retired his first nine batters when his hands were examined by first base umpire D.J. Reyburn as the pitched headed to the mound for the bottom of the fourth. Two other umpires came over along with Yankees manager Aaron Boone, and Germán was ejected by crew chief James Hoye, who was working the plate.

Hoye’s crew examined the 30-year-old right-hander during an April 15 start against Minnesota, when Germán retired his first 16 batters, but allowed him to stay in that game. Hoye had asked Germán to wash rosin off his hand and some had remained on the pitcher’s pinkie finger.

Mets pitcher Max Scherzer was suspended for sticky stuff on April 20, and Seattle’s Héctor Santiago and Arizona’s Caleb Smith were suspended in 2021.

Germán was replaced by Ian Hamilton, who was removed after five batters and 27 pitches because of right groin tightness.

Before batting practice, Judge said he doesn’t appreciate being branded a potential cheater after he took a sideways peek before hitting a 462-foot home run in Monday’s 7-4 win.

“I’ve got some choice words about that, but I’m just going to keep that off the record,” Judge said.

Across the diamond, Blue Jays manager John Schneider said his team spoke to Major League Baseball about the positioning of New York’s base coaches.

“There’s boxes on the field for a reason,’ Schneider said.

The commissioner’s office said it was aware of Monday’s situation and will be paying attention to it, Toronto’s second-year manager said.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said his team also had been in touch with MLB.

“Our understanding is that there will not be any kind of investigation because nothing that went on last night was against the rules,” Boone said.

Houston was penalized for using prohibited electronics to steal signs en route to the 2017 World Series title. There is no rule prohibiting players and coaches from studying opponents with eyes in search of a sign flashed too openly, or for individual tendencies and tells.

Judge said he was upset at the suggestion he was benefitting from sign stealing after the Toronto television broadcast picked up his sideways glance during his eighth inning at-bat against right-hander Jay Jackson.

“I’m not happy about it, but people can say what they want,” Judge said. “I’ve still got a game to play, I’ve got things I’ve got to do. I told you guys what happened and everybody else can make their own story about it if they want.”

New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge hits his second home run of a baseball game during eighth-inning action against the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto, Ontario, Monday, May 15, 2023.Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP

Schneider said it’s up to his players to make sure they don’t inadvertently give away pitch locations or signs.

“What’s fair is fair, I think, and if our guys are giving stuff away, we have to be better at that,” Schneider said. “If things are being picked up from people that aren’t in places they should be, that’s where I think the line should be drawn.”

Schneider was then asked whether he was specifically concerned about where opposing base coaches stand.

“Every team kind of has their guard up on that,” Schneider said. “It’s easy to look at a runner at second when you’re hitting, tough to look into the dugout. Probably a little bit easier to look at a coach. There’s boxes on the field for a reason. When it’s a glaring 30 feet where you’re not in that spot, you kind of put two and two together a little bit.”

After Monday’s game, Judge said he looked into his dugout to see which of his teammates was disrupting his at-bat by yelling at plate umpire Clint Vondrak. Vondrak had just ejected Boone for arguing a low strike call to Judge.

Schneider said he didn’t think much of Judge’s explanation.

“I’m not in the business of buying post-game media,” Schneider said. “It’s a really accomplished hitter who won the MVP last year. I know that he means nothing but business and wants to win. I just found it a little funny that he was worrying about his dugout while he was in the batter’s box.”

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