While the Philadelphia Phillies delivered the disappointing news Friday that Andrew McCutchen’s recovery from a torn ACL will keep him out for the start of the regular season, more encouraging news came Sunday in regards to reliever Seranthony Dominguez.
Dominguez competed in a simulated game Sunday morning, and manager Joe Girardi told the collective media, including Matt Gelb of The Athletic, that the righty reached 94 mph with his fastball. Per FanGraphs, Dominguez’s average fastball velocity in 2018 was 98.4 mph, and 97.7 in 2019, so he isn’t completely back. As Gelb noted, though, there’s no indication that the 25-year-old won’t be ready for Opening Day in Miami on March 26.
At the outset of Spring Training, Dominguez said that his goal was to be ready for the start of the season.
In his rookie season of 2018, Dominguez was dominant at times, posting a 2.85 FIP in 53 games. However, he struggled to replicate that success in 27 appearances in 2019, posting a a 4.01 ERA and 4.02 FIP. Ironically, during the same series in San Diego in early June that McCutchen tore his ACL, Dominguez left the mound with a UCL injury. Though his injury didn’t require Tommy John surgery, Dominguez not returning for the rest of the season has left some with a wait-and-see-approach in regards to what to expect from him in 2020.
It’s unclear whether Girardi plans to use Dominguez as a set-up man or closer, but that type of debate would become a moot point if he isn’t available to pitch. A season ago, the Phillies bullpen was devastated by injuries, and it contributed to an extremely disappointing 81-81 finish. As the Phillies attempt to compete in a crowded National League East in 2020, Dominguez, among others, staying healthy will be crucial.
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