Dominguez has allowed one run on three hits in four innings this spring, striking out eight batters while walking none. Dominguez saved 16 games with a 2.95 ERA and a 32.0 percent strikeout rate as a rookie back in 2018, but he took a step back in 2019 before missing most of the last two seasons due to Tommy John surgery, throwing just a single inning late last year. His past experience in the ninth inning made him look like a dark horse closer candidate at the start of the offseason, but the additions of Corey Knebel, Brad Hand and Jeurys Familia pushed him down the depth chart. If he carries his spring form into the regular season, however, it's not out of the question that he could quickly rise back up the ranks.
Dominguez and the Phillies agreed to a one-year, $725,000 deal Tuesday, avoiding arbitration, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports. Dominguez lost almost two full seasons to Tommy John surgery, returning to throw just a single inning late in the 2021 season. If he's back to being his former self heading into next season, he could be a weapon at the back of the Phillies' bullpen, as he owns a career 3.23 ERA and 30.2 percent strikeout rate in 83.2 innings at the highest level.
Dominguez was recalled by the Phillies on Saturday, Scott Lauber of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Dominguez was an effective reliever in 2018 and the first half of 2019, saving 16 games while riding a 30.2 percent strikeout rate and 55.3 percent groundball rate to a 3.27 ERA. He then developed elbow problems which eventually required Tommy John surgery, but he's set to return to big-league action just shy of 28 months since his last appearance at the highest level. He hasn't been good in 20.1 innings in the minors this season as he works his way back to full strength, struggling to a 7.97 ERA, though he hasn't allowed an earned run in any of his last five trips to the mound. Connor Brogdon (groin) hit the injured list to clear space on the roster.
The Phillies reinstated Dominguez (elbow) from the 60-day injured list Wednesday and optioned him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. With Dominguez's rehab window coming to an end and his results in the minors not warranting a September call-up, the Phillies decided to keep him at Triple-A for at least a little while longer. According to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Tuesday that he's pleased with how Dominguez's fastball velocity looks and how is slider has been breaking, but the right-hander's command and control isn't quite yet where it needs to be as he works his way back from July 30, 2020 Tommy John surgery. Dombrowski didn't rule out the possibility of Dominguez rejoining the Phillies later this month if he shows improvement in his subsequent appearances at Triple-A.
Dominguez began a rehab assignment at High-A Jersey Shore on Tuesday, striking out two across a perfect first inning, Scott Lauber of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Dominguez has been working his way back from Tommy John surgery for just over a year, and Tuesday's outing marked his first official game action since spring training of 2020. The right-hander will likely spend several weeks ramping up in the minors, and assuming he doesn't suffer any setbacks, he should have a strong chance of rejoining the Phillies' bullpen in late August or early September.
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