CLEARWATER, Fla. — Seranthony Dominguez said last summer that he was hoping for a miracle as he waited to learn if his elbow injury would require surgery.
Four days later, the Phillies reliever was told he did not need Tommy John surgery. Two months later, he was playing catch. Three months later, Dominguez was pitching off a mound. And on Tuesday, the right-hander felt fine after completing a bullpen session in Clearwater, keeping him on track to be ready for a season that he was once thought to miss.
So was Dominguez granted his miracle?
“Not yet,” he said before the Phillies held their first official workout of camp. “I’m still working.”
Dominguez resumed throwing in December after returning home to the Dominican Republic for the offseason. Tuesday was his third bullpen session, and he mixed changeups with fastballs. The Phillies will show precaution this spring with Dominguez, but he begins camp with a good shot of being ready for the season opener on March 26.
“I feel that I’m good. I feel that I’m ready,” Dominguez said. “I want to be ready for opening day. I want to help the team and do my job.”
Dominguez was one of eight relievers to leave Clearwater last season on the opening-day roster. But just two of those pitchers avoided the injured list. The Phillies bullpen was ravaged by injuries, but spring training begins with hope that the relievers could be healthy again.
Dominguez and Adam Morgan are both on track, and David Robertson said Wednesday morning that he is “very hopeful” that he can return in the second half of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The Phillies re-signed Tommy Hunter, who pitched just five games last season, but did little else to upgrade their bullpen. Instead, they will rely this spring on a cast of veterans on minor-league contracts looking to keep their careers churning and hoping that their returning relievers can return to full health.
A healthy Dominguez, who missed the final four months of the season, would be a key addition. He was electric in 2018 as a rookie and has struck out 11.2 batters per nine innings over the last two seasons. The Phillies need him to be healthy.