Whether new Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi envisions using Seranthony Dominguez as a set-up man or closer, it could be argued that he’s the most important player to the team’s chances to reach the postseason in 2020.
After a lost 2019 season, the 25-year-old is eager for the 2020 season to begin.
“I feel that I’m good. I feel that I’m ready,” Dominguez said to the collective media, including Matt Breen of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I want to be ready for Opening Day. I want to help the team and do my job.”
Following a rookie season where he demonstrated All-Star potential, Dominguez was limited to just 27 appearances in 2019. He was forced to leave a game in San Diego in early June with a UCL injury. Though he got the opinions of multiple doctors that said he didn’t need Tommy John surgery, a setback in late August kept Dominguez from returning to the mound at all last season.
Fortunately, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said in November that Dominguez was set to have a normal offseason after successfully throwing before being shut down after the conclusion of the season.
In fact, new pitching coach Bryan Price said last month that Dominguez couldn’t wait to get going in 2020.
“He is throwing,” Price said to Matt Gelb of The Athletic. “As a matter of fact, he was chomping at the bit to get going. But he’s on a throwing protocol set up by our training staff with some oversight from myself, [assistant pitching coach] Dave Lundquist and [bullpen coach] Jim [Gott]. We had to kind of back him down a little bit because he was really chomping at the bit to be throwing – longer distances, closer to getting to the mound, etc. He’s throwing. I’m confident that he’s going to be ready. But he’s not going to be fast-tracked. He doesn’t necessarily need four weeks of pitching in games.”
At his introductory press conference in October, Girardi said bluntly that the bullpen needs to stay healthy in 2020 – something that didn’t happen in 2019 – for the team to achieve their goals.
In his rookie season of 2018, Dominguez was electric at times, posting a 2.95 ERA and 2.85 FIP in 53 appearances. In his meeting with the media Tuesday, Girardi sounded excited about the possibility of that version of Dominguez, now 25, returning in 2020.
“I think we’re going to have additions just because of health…guys coming back,” Girardi said Wednesday. “If you get a Seranthony Dominguez that can stay healthy for the whole year, that’s a huge addition. I mean you’re talking about a guy that was a closer and an eighth inning guy that wasn’t there a good portion of the  season.”
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