Will Seranthony Dominguez be ready for Phillies’ opener?

Will Seranthony Dominguez be ready for Phillies’ opener?

CLEARWATER, Fla. – A handful of important Phillies entered this spring training camp looking to rebound from injuries that ended their 2019 seasons.

Three of them were on the same field for a simulated game at the minor-league complex Sunday morning.

Right-hander Jake Arrieta threw 54 pain-free pitches over two-plus innings as he continued his healthy return from a surgical clean-out of his right elbow.

Lefty Adam Morgan also worked a pain-free inning as he continued his healthy return from an elbow strain which prevented him from pitching after July 31.

Though nothing is official, Arrieta lines up to start the third game of the regular season behind Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler.

Morgan will fill a key role in the bullpen.

The Phillies are hoping that Seranthony Dominguez can join Morgan in getting important outs toward the end of games.

Dominguez also pitched in Sunday morning's simulated game. In fact, it was his first time pitching in at least a semi-competitive environment since he walked off the field in San Diego on June 5 with a ligament strain in his right elbow.

Dominguez passed Sunday's 13-pitch test -- he faced four batters, allowed a single and struck out two -- but there will be more to come before his status for opening day is decided.

“I feel really good and I’m happy about that,” Dominguez said. “I feel like I let it go as hard as I can. I don’t know about the velocity right now. I just think about being ahead in the count, controlling all my pitches and being ready for the season.”

Manager Joe Girardi liked what he saw of Dominguez.

"I thought it looked pretty good, the best I've seen since he started throwing bullpens," Girardi said. "He was up to 94 (mph) and threw some good sliders and a good changeup. I was happy with it. I wasn't sure what to expect."

It’s important that Dominguez be able to release the ball with authority, or, as he said, "as hard as I can." Not only does that create velocity, it shows that he trusts his elbow. That’s one of the big hurdles that a pitcher must clear coming back from an elbow injury.

Dominguez strained the ulna collateral ligament in his elbow. At the time of the injury, it was feared he would need Tommy John surgery and the year-plus recovery time that comes with it. But Dominguez visited with top surgeon James Andrews and surgery was not recommended. Dominguez spent the summer and fall months resting and rehabbing. This spring training is as much a test of his health as it is a time to prepare for the season. 

The Phillies did little to upgrade their bullpen in the offseason. Getting Dominguez back healthy and effective is crucial to the team.

Dominguez will continue to work his way toward getting in an official Grapefruit League game. He said he believes he will be ready for opening day, but team officials will be cautious. Two weeks ago, Andrew McCutchen, one of the players whose season was ended by injury year, said it was his plan to be ready for opening day. On Friday, he was ruled out. McCutchen had surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee in June and is still working his way back. The Phillies hope that taking a conservative approach with McCutchen will allow him to have five healthy, impactful months on the active roster.

The next few weeks will determine if the team takes a similar approach with Dominguez.

As for the other Phillies coming back from season-ending injuries: Tommy Hunter (elbow surgery) has been throwing bullpen sessions. He is expected to open on the IL and be ready to go a month or so into the season. David Robertson, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, is on a throwing program. He hopes to pitch during the second half of the season.

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Citing huge losses in revenue, Phillies make salary cuts

Citing huge losses in revenue, Phillies make salary cuts

Projecting losses of "substantially more than $100 million," Phillies ownership on Monday instituted salary cuts for its top-earning employees.

The cuts, effective immediately, apply to employees earning more than $90,000 per year. Employees making $90,000 or less are not subject to cuts.

"Our senior executives have made significant and deep non-payroll expense cuts across the organization, but even with their best efforts, the Phillies will lose substantially more than $100 million this year," managing partner John Middleton wrote in a letter that was emailed to full-time employees and obtained by NBC Sports Philadelphia.

"These staggering losses have forced ownership and senior management to make difficult but necessary decisions, as have other clubs and businesses confronted with the impact of Covid-19, to protect the financial viability of our organization and to ensure our future. All of us, beginning with me, must make sacrifices."

Employees making over $90,000 will have a percentage of their pay reduced on a graduated basis; the higher the salary, the bigger the cut. The reductions will continue through October 31, the end of the team's fiscal year. In his letter, Middleton stated that he would forego his compensation for the balance of the year.

"While I remain hopeful that we will see baseball at Citizens Bank Park this summer, any games played will almost surely be played without fans in the ballpark which is regrettable," Middleton wrote. "The absence of fans creates an enormous financial challenge, as approximately 40 percent of our total annual revenue is generated by attendance — tickets, food and merchandise concessions, parking and sponsorships. With no fans in the stands, these sources of revenue evaporate."

Middleton stated that employees would be treated the same, whether they were on the baseball side or the business side.

In recent weeks, Phillies ownership pledged it would not cut jobs or employee benefits through October. Employees from some other teams have not been so fortunate. 

The Los Angeles Angels, Oakland A's, Miami Marlins, Tampa Bay Rays and Cincinnati Reds are teams known to have issued furloughs. Many other teams, including high-profile clubs such as the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers have instituted pay cuts. According to reports, 80 percent of Cubs employees have been subject to a 20 percent pay cut and Dodgers employees making over $75,000 have been cut up to 35 percent. Red Sox employees making over $50,000 have received cuts ranging from 20 to 30 percent.

"This salary reduction plan does not come close to eliminating our 2020 losses," Middleton wrote. "As a result of the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Buck and Middleton families must now invest an additional $100 million in the Phillies over the next year to ensure the continued stability of the club. During these uncertain and distressing times, our decision-making must address both short-term and long-term financial ramifications, especially since none of us knows when and how this pandemic will end. Our success historically has been defined by a culture of collaboration, and I am asking all of you to continue working with me to meet this challenge."

As the calendar turned to June on Monday, Major League Baseball and the players union continued to negotiate a way to bring the game back for a shortened season this summer. The sides remain apart on financial issues. A resolution must come in the next week or so if a season is to commence in early July.

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Phillies Talk podcast: MLBPA proposal, Roy Halladay documentary and 2008 Phils magic

Phillies Talk podcast: MLBPA proposal, Roy Halladay documentary and 2008 Phils magic

Jim Salisbury and Corey Seidman react to the MLBPA's latest proposal, the Roy Halladay documentary and recall some of their favorite moments from the Phillies' opening playoff series in 2008.

• Are players and owners closer to a financial resolution?

• It seems like the two sides are having completely separate conversation.

• What's more likely: 82 games or 114?

• Our takeaways from the Roy Halladay documentary.

• Halladay may have ended up coaching with the Phillies.

• 1-on-1 with Cole Hamels about 2008 playoffs.

• Best moments and memories of that 2008 NLDS vs. Brewers.

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