Dominguez’s big league dream in limbo: Yankees star’s elbow injury raises questions

Jasson Dominguez, player of the New York Yankees

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Jasson Dominguez‘s journey into the big leagues started with a bang. His first eight games with the New York Yankees were nothing short of spectacular, raising hopes and expectations for the young outfielder. Fans and analysts alike were beginning to speculate about his potential impact in the upcoming spring training and whether he could secure a spot in the Yankees’ outfield. However, the ninth game would bring a sudden and unexpected twist to Dominguez’s budding career, casting a cloud of uncertainty over both his immediate future and the Yankees’ plans for center field.

Uncertain future with the Yankees

Jasson Domingez holding a bat
MLB.com

As of Monday, Dominguez was still in the early stages of dealing with a diagnosis that no athlete wants to hear—a torn UCL (ulnar collateral ligament) in his right elbow. The medical team had not yet scheduled any surgery, leaving the decision between the traditional Tommy John surgery and an alternative procedure like an internal brace hanging in the balance.

The typical recovery timeline for a position player undergoing Tommy John surgery, as mentioned by Manager Aaron Boone, hovers around nine to ten months. This estimate would potentially put Dominguez back on the field around June or July of the next season. However, it’s crucial to recognize that Dominguez is a young talent, and the Yankees are likely to exercise extreme caution in his rehabilitation process. Comparisons to Bryce Harper and Shohei Ohtani, who returned relatively quickly from similar injuries but as designated hitters, may not be entirely applicable to Dominguez’s situation. Boone emphasized that the timeline would be dictated by Dominguez’s readiness and the advice of medical experts. The possibility of opting for an internal brace procedure could offer a faster recovery, as exemplified by Red Sox shortstop Trevor Story’s seven-month recuperation. Nevertheless, Dominguez was still evaluating his options, and no decision had been reached.

While the UCL injury itself was not expected to have long-term consequences for Dominguez’s career, it complicated his immediate future. The Yankees had brought him up to the major leagues on September 1, partly to assess his potential contributions in the next season and gauge his readiness for the opening day roster. Now, with the uncertainty surrounding his recovery timeline, Dominguez’s role with the big-league team for the next year remained in question. This scenario heightened the likelihood of the Yankees seeking a temporary solution for their center field position while Dominguez recuperated.

Despite the setback, Dominguez had made an indelible mark during his brief eight-game stint with the Yankees. He boasted an impressive .258 batting average, four home runs, and a .980 OPS, all while displaying remarkable composure on the field. Manager Boone maintained an optimistic outlook on Dominguez’s future, urging everyone to focus on his recovery and the potential for a triumphant return.

Yankees' prospect Jasson Dominguez
AP

One player who could empathize with Dominguez’s situation was Gleyber Torres. Torres had experienced a similar injury in the past, tearing the UCL in his non-throwing elbow in June 2017, just as he was on the cusp of his big-league debut. He underwent Tommy John surgery and subsequently spent time in Triple-A before making his MLB debut in April 2018. Torres understood the physical and emotional challenges such an injury posed but believed that Dominguez would come back even stronger and healthier. He praised Dominguez’s exceptional talent and expressed hope that they would see him back on the field for at least part of the next season.

The uncertainty surrounding Dominguez’s injury and the choice of surgery loomed large as the Yankees contemplated their options for the promising young outfielder. As the baseball world eagerly awaited updates on Dominguez’s condition, it remained clear that his talent and potential were undeniable, and the hope for a successful recovery burned brightly among fans and the Yankees organization alike. While the path forward might be uncertain, the belief in Jasson Dominguez’s future in pinstripes remained unwavering.

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