As the Philadelphia Phillies attempt to contend for the National League East title in the last two months of the season, one of the team’s former breakout relievers could be a step closer to contributing down the stretch.
Right-hander Seranthony Domínguez made his first rehab appearance for the High-A Jersey Shore BlueClaws on Tuesday after undergoing Tommy John surgery last July. He started the game for the BlueClaws, tossing a perfect first inning with two strikeouts in an 8-5 loss to the Aberdeen IronBirds at FirstEnergy Park.
“Seeing him go out there and obviously trust his body was a big thing,” Jersey Shore manager Chris Adamson told Phillies Nation on Wednesday. “There were some really positive signs. He threw some breaking balls that had some depth and the fastball had really easy life, considering what he’s been through.”
Domínguez threw 21 pitches in his lone inning, and his fastball velocity sat in the mid-90s mph as he eased back into in-game pitching.
“He was 93 to 95 with pretty easy life, so there was a bit more in the tank there,” Adamson said. “But he was well and truly in control of where he was at.”
Domínguez’s outing in Lakewood was his first appearance in a professional game since he injured his elbow with the Phillies in 2019. He’s thrown to hitters within the Phillies organization, but facing an opponent in an actual game was a huge advancement for the 26-year-old.
“To be honest, we treat it fairly much like a normal game,” Adamson said of the approach for Domínguez’s assignment. “He’s already had a bunch of live [batting practices] down at the complex, so he’s kind of ready for, I guess, less of a controlled environment, where we can just react to what’s in front of you or what the hitter’s seeing.”
Domínguez will make two more outings for Jersey Shore, according to Adamson. He’s scheduled to open the game for an inning again on Friday.
In the meantime, he remains with the BlueClaws, providing an example to the Single-A pitchers of how a big leaguer goes through his routine.
“It’s always good for the young guys to be able to see how those high-level guys go about their business. That’s been invaluable to them,” Adamson said.
Domínguez had to learn how to be a major leaguer himself rather quickly. He began the 2018 season in Double-A Reading and jumped to Triple-A Lehigh Valley after eight appearances. Three outings later, the hard-throwing righty was promoted to the majors, taking down a fireman role in the back of the Phillies bullpen.
Domínguez had a 2.95 ERA in 53 major-league appearances that season. The Phillies could certainly use that kind of production — or anything close to it — on their team as they make a push for a playoff spot.
Of course, it’s been three seasons and a reconstructed elbow since that 2018 campaign for Domínguez. It’s far from a guarantee that he’ll reach that level again. But if it’s going to happen, it’ll start with progress as he works back in the minors.
Adamson said Domínguez felt good on Wednesday following his outing, on track to continue his assignment.
“He’s been through some stuff over the last 18 to 24 months, so he looked as though he was enjoying himself out there on [on Tuesday],” the manager said. “He’s pulled up really well today, so it’s all positive.”
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