Phillies reliever Seranthony Dominguez experienced some soreness in his injured right elbow during his last throwing session.
You don’t need a degree in Sports Medicine to know where this could be headed.
Nor do you need to be a rehab specialist to know what it could mean for next season.
According to manager Gabe Kapler, Dominguez will be examined next week by orthopedic surgeon Michael Ciccotti, the Phillies’ longtime head of medical services. A course of action will be determined after that examination.
This doesn’t sound good, and here’s why:
Dominguez, 24, has not pitched in nearly three months. The hard-throwing right-hander left the Phillies' June 5 game at San Diego with pain in his elbow. Two days later, general manager Matt Klentak said that Dominguez had sustained “damage” to his ulnar collateral ligament. Klentak added that Tommy John surgery was a possibility pending a second opinion.
It’s worth noting that general managers don’t throw these words around unless they’re pretty convinced that surgery will be needed.
Dominguez got his second opinion from all-star orthopedist James Andrews and, surprisingly, surgery was not recommended. Andrews treated Dominguez with a PRP injection and prescribed a rest and rehab program that left the Phillies hoping that Dominguez might actually come back and pitch this season.
That’s not happening now, and given the initial diagnosis of UCL damage, and the pitcher's lack of progress over nearly three months, one would suspect that surgery is a strong possibility.
If Dominguez does indeed need Tommy John surgery, he will require up to a year of recovery time and that will put him out for most, if not all, of next season. That will be a blow to the team because Dominguez is a real talent, one the Phillies hoped to build their bullpen around.
Already, the 2020 season is off to a bad start in the bullpen. David Robertson, whose two-year, $23 million contract runs through next season, could miss all or most of 2020 after having Tommy John surgery earlier this month.
Injuries have crippled the Phillies’ bullpen this season and Dominguez has been one of the team’s biggest losses. The Phils have eight relievers on the injured list with just Hector Neris and Jose Alvarez remaining from the season-opening bullpen.
Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek are done for the season. Adam Morgan is out with a flexor injury in his left elbow and Kapler said it’s likely that he’s done for the season.
On the starting pitching front, Jake Arrieta had his elbow surgically cleaned out earlier this week. Kapler said the pitcher had a couple of bone spurs and some loose bodies removed.
“He definitely gutted it out and pitched through some real challenges,” Kapler said.
Arrieta is expected to be ready to go for spring training.
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