Yankees legend lauds rising star Jasson Dominguez in MLB debut

Yankees' prospect Jasson Dominguez

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In an enchanting twist of fate at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa during spring training, legendary New York Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams graced the scene as a guest instructor. However, it wasn’t the former superstar that stole the spotlight; all eyes were riveted on the Yankees’ top prospect, Jasson Domínguez.

Bernie Williams, who played center field for the Yankees for 16 illustrious seasons, couldn’t help but be impressed. In a phone interview to The Athletic, he declared, “He was the talk of the spring. Everybody was so taken by his poise at such a young age. He felt like he belonged there and that it was just a matter of time.”

That moment arrived like a thunderclap on a Friday when Dominguez was called up to the majors. His debut was nothing short of spectacular, as he smashed a home run on his very first swing against the formidable Houston Astros pitcher, Justin Verlander, a potential Hall of Famer.

Dominguez didn’t stop there, concluding the weekend with a tally of two home runs in three games, showcasing his unwavering prowess in center field. As he prepares for his debut at Yankee Stadium against the Detroit Tigers, the hype surrounding him has reached full throttle.

Yankees' top prospect Jasson Dominguez
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Yet, amid the fervor, Bernie Williams remains grounded and purposeful. He will be present at the stadium, not just for the game but to perform the pregame national anthem and raise awareness for interstitial lung disease. This condition tragically claimed the life of his father in 2001 when Williams himself was just 32 years old.

Now 54, Williams is also an advocate for Boehringer Ingelheim’s Tune Into Lung Health program, determined to provide support and resources to those who might be suffering from similar symptoms as his late father.

With his wealth of experience, Bernie Williams is uniquely positioned to understand the challenges that Jasson Domínguez, at the tender age of 20, is poised to face. Williams sees him as more than ready, describing him as a “sponge” during spring training, absorbing wisdom and advice.

Williams had the opportunity to converse with Dominguez and was impressed by the young switch-hitter’s comfort in his environment. He stated, “He was very receptive to advice… He didn’t seem intimidated, which actually shows with what he has done so far this year. It doesn’t feel like he’s intimidated in the league.”

When asked what advice he would offer Dominguez, Williams’s words were simple yet profound: “Just have fun. Play the game.” He emphasized that the fundamentals remain unchanged; it’s the surroundings that differ when playing in New York City. Handling the media, bright lights, and fast pace requires a special mentality, according to Williams.

Williams revealed that managing distractions and maintaining a daily routine would be “paramount” for Dominguez. He acknowledged that every player is different, and some draw motivation from the media and fans, but it’s vital to strike a balance and avoid letting emotions run amok.

On the field, Williams acknowledged that Dominguez will encounter varying pitching strategies and will need to adapt. Yet, he exudes confidence, stating, “I don’t see any reason he can’t make those adjustments. He’s proven in every level he has played that he’s a very good hitter and he’s definitely up for the challenge.”

As Jasson Dominguez embarks on what promises to be a remarkable career, he can count on the wisdom and support of a Yankees legend, Bernie Williams, who knows what it takes to shine in the city that never sleeps.

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