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Phillies not ruling out the possibility of Seranthony Domínguez pitching in 2021


Seranthony Dominguez underwent Tommy John surgery last July. (Ian D’Andrea)

While the Philadelphia Phillies wait on the returns of Bryce Harper and Didi Gregorius, it’s worth checking in on another potential addition later in the season – reliever Seranthony Domínguez.

Domínguez hasn’t pitched since June of 2019, finally undergoing Tommy John surgery late in July of 2020. Tommy John surgery, with no setbacks, typically comes with a recovery time of at or around 12 months. So is it possible that there’s enough time for Domínguez to ramp up late in the summer, go on a rehab stint and still pitch in what the Phillies hope will be meaningful games in August or September?

“I think it’s possible,” Joe Girardi said before Friday evening’s game against the Washington Nationals. “As far as following exactly what he’s doing, I’m sorry, I can’t tell you because I know we are a ways out still from him. I haven’t gotten a rehab schedule, that’s when you really start to pay attention when guys start to rehab, and I have not gotten that. I mean, he’s doing well. And I still believe there’s a possibility, yeah.”

Girardi did say in February that there really wouldn’t be time for Domínguez, now 26, to have a setback and still pitch this season. To this point, there hasn’t been one.

Of course, the Phillies figure to be protective of Domínguez’s long-term health, so if there is any sign of a setback, the Phillies would likely shut him down, in the same way that they did with David Robertson last August. In fact, they’re even more motivated to be cautious with Domínguez, who can’t become a free agent until after the 2024 season.

There’s no doubt, though, that Domínguez could provide a much-needed shot in the arm if he’s able to join the Phillies in September, assuming they’re still within striking distance in the National League East race. While the Phillies bullpen has improved from being the historically-bad unit they were in 2020, they still entered Friday with a 4.68 ERA, the 23rd best mark in baseball.

Domínguez burst onto the scene in his rookie year of 2018, posting a 2.95 ERA, 2.85 FIP and 1.3 fWAR in 53 games. His results weren’t as strong in 2019, as he had a 4.01 ERA and 4.02 FIP in 27 games before initially injuring the UCL in his throwing elbow. The Phillies avoided arbitration with Domínguez in December, settling on a $727,500 salary for 2021.

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