Yankees option rookie pitcher Domingo German to Triple-A after loss to Mets

NEW YORK -- Another night has passed, and the New York Yankees have slipped yet another game deeper into the American League East standings.

The combination Friday of New York's 7-5 loss to the crosstown-rival New York Mets and the Boston Red Sox's 1-0 win over Detroit pushed the Yankees into a 5½-game deficit behind the Red Sox in the division.

Despite that, their manager still isn't pressing the panic button.

"I can't look at the scoreboard and will it the other way, unfortunately," Aaron Boone said after this latest loss, the Yankees' fourth in seven games. "We've got to take care of business. We've got to get rolling.

"This is about us right now. And this is about us getting on a good streak, and that starts [Saturday]."

When the Yankees host the Mets on Saturday afternoon for the second of three Subway Series games, they will enter the day with one of the top winning percentages in all of baseball.

Only Boston has had more success at this point.

"You never like to be in second place, so you're always concerned about that," Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge said to reporters at his locker. "But there's still quite a bit of the season left to go. So we just keep playing our game. That's what I've always said a thousand times to you guys. We've just got to keep playing our game, and we'll be where we want to be at the end of the year."

Added fellow outfielder Brett Gardner, emphatically: "We've just got to play better baseball. That's all there is to it."

Part of playing better baseball includes cleaning up a pitching staff that has shown inconsistency throughout the year. Rookie Domingo German, who was placed into the rotation in early May after Jordan Montgomery suffered a season-ending elbow injury, has been among the most inconsistent.

After tossing six no-hit innings in his first career start, he has gone on to struggle in the 12 that have followed. Friday's 3⅔-inning, five-hit, four-run outing upped his overall ERA to 5.68. Across his 13 starts, he also has allowed 14 runs in the first inning alone.

Because of those struggles, the Yankees optioned German back to Triple-A right after Friday's game. Boone believed some "mechanical" issues have caused the 25-year-old to be erratic with his command.

"He's going to work it out [at Triple-A] and hopefully get mechanically sound, because everyone in this room has seen him be successful and see what he can be when he's throwing his fastball for strikes," Boone said. "He can be very tough. It's a good time for him to go down and iron things out. Hopefully he'll get it going a little bit so he can be an option for us again."

Through an interpreter, German said he simply needed to make "some minor adjustments" to his mechanics.

As German goes down, the Yankees will call up a still-to-be-determined pitcher for the remainder of the weekend. When German's spot in the rotation comes up again in the middle of next week, New York will call up Luis Cessa from Triple-A to make that start.

For the Yankees' affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday, Cessa allowed just two hits in six innings and had nine strikeouts.

In the wake of Cessa's outing, the Yankees will be keeping an eye Saturday on Triple-A left-hander Justus Sheffield, who will be looking to build upon his own stretch of recent minor league starts.

Dubbed the 16th-best prospect in baseball entering the season by ESPN's Keith Law, Sheffield has some Yankees fans hopeful that he'll be in the big leagues soon.

"He's certainly a guy that's more and more in the conversation, but [Yankees player development officials] want him to just kind of get finished off down there and fine-tune some things," Boone said. "He's had a very successful season -- he's got better.

"He's close to being an option."

As the Yankees start getting a little more desperate to close the gap with the Red Sox, they may find the more pitching options they can have, the better.