Updated: Tuesday, 12:39 a.m.
It was only a matter of time before Seranthony Dominguez would arrive in Philadelphia this season. That much became pretty clear back in February when Gabe Kapler got his first look at the 23-year-old right-hander during spring training. The Phillies manager gushed about Dominguez’s power fastball/slider mix and said he pitched with “the bravado of a seasoned veteran.”
Two weeks ago, Kapler got another look at Dominguez during a perfect inning of work at Double A Reading (see story). A few days later, Dominguez was in Triple A and on Monday he arrived in Philadelphia when the Phillies placed reliever Adam Morgan on the disabled list with a back strain.
Dominguez got the word he was headed for Philadelphia just before 1 p.m. in Lehigh Valley. He was at Citizens Bank Park a few hours later and made his big-league debut with a perfect eighth inning, a 97-mph fastball and a strikeout of Evan Longoria in the Phillies' 11-0 win over the San Francisco Giants (see first take).
"It's a moment I will never forget," Dominguez said after the game.
He said he was not nervous. Excited, yes. But not nervous.
"That's my personality," he said. "It's a moment I have been waiting for. It's something I have been getting ready for, mentally and physically. I just took it as, 'Well, this is my time. Now I have to show them that I am ready.'"
Dominguez reached triple digits with his fastball in the minors last season. The Phillies converted him to a relief role this spring. He pitched 16 2/3 innings at Double A and Triple A and allowed just eight hits and three earned runs while striking out 21 and walking three.
Clearly, Dominguez has the makings of a future closer. For now, all Kapler would commit to was that Dominguez “would take down meaningful innings" for the team.
Pitching in a blowout was a perfect setting for Dominguez to get his feet wet in the majors.
"There's a lot of reasons to like Seranthony,” Kapler said. “The first reason is he's got a really big fastball and the slider and changeup play well, also. But the thing that I find most impressive about him is his composure and his maturity and his mental readiness. Those are the things that stood out in spring training and continue to stand out as we watch video, as we look at numbers, as we remember back at spring training.”
The Phillies signed Dominguez in October 2011 for $25,000 out of his native Dominican Republic. The pitcher visited Philadelphia this winter and was asked about his unique first name. He said it was something his parents heard on television.
Morgan has been one of the Phillies’ most consistent relievers since August of last season. He has a 2.45 ERA in 17 games this season. The Phillies did not place Morgan on the disabled list until about 90 minutes before first pitch Monday night, so there was no immediate word on the severity of his condition. He faced two batters in Washington on Sunday and allowed one hit and recorded one out.
With Morgan on the DL, the Phillies have just one lefty, Zac Curtis, in their bullpen.