Yankees select Rangers’ team surgeon for Jasson Dominguez’s elbow surgery

A fan holding a placard for Jasson Dominguez during his debut for the Yankees vs. the Astros in Houston on September 1, 2023.

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After carefully considering all options and consulting various surgeons, the Yankees have made a decision regarding Jasson Dominguez‘s surgery. The highly regarded prospect, who was diagnosed with a torn right UCL, is set to undergo Tommy John surgery next Wednesday, according to an announcement made by manager Aaron Boone on Thursday at Fenway Park.

Dr. Keith Meister, the team physician for the Texas Rangers, will perform the surgery. Dr. Meister is known for handling Jacob deGrom’s Tommy John surgery and operating on former Yankee Chad Green last year, among other cases. Earlier this year, he performed an internal brace procedure on Red Sox shortstop Trevor Story, who made a speedy return in seven months. However, the Yankees plan to exercise caution with Jasson Dominguez.

Injury to Jasson Dominguez a setback for the Yankees

Jasson Dominguez made a strong MLB debut earlier this month, hitting four home runs with a .980 OPS in eight games before an MRI exam revealed his elbow injury on Sunday.

Boone reiterated the expected recovery timeline for Jasson Domínguez emphasizing that position players typically return from this type of elbow surgery in nine to ten months. This suggests that Jasson Dominguez could rejoin the Yankees around next year’s All-Star break unless his rehabilitation progresses quickly or there are any unforeseen setbacks.

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Boone explained that the player would need to undergo the surgery first and the typical timeline for a position player’s recovery spans several months.

Following Boone’s official announcement, the Yankees issued a clarification stating that while Boone referred to it as Tommy John surgery, the full extent of the procedure won’t be known until Jasson Dominguez undergoes it. The surgery could potentially be a traditional Tommy John surgery, an internal brace procedure, or a combination of the two, depending on the findings of Dr. Keith Meister during the operation.

Regardless of the specific technique, the primary goal is to repair Jasson Dominguez’s ulnar collateral ligament, which is typically referred to as Tommy John surgery. Boone reiterated that the 20-year-old outfielder is expected to have a recovery timeline of nine to ten months before returning to game action.

By the time Jasson Dominguez arrives in Tampa for spring training in February, he will likely be well into his baseball activities, including swinging a bat. The crucial factor in his recovery is the gradual strengthening of his arm, necessary for his return to center field, making it a nine-month process, with some potential variability in the timeline.

Yankees pin hopes on his Martian trait

Boone expressed the team’s enthusiasm for the player’s future potential and acknowledged that there’s still a significant development process ahead. He also emphasized the importance of Jasson Dominguez’s recovery and hoped for a productive period of rehabilitation over the winter so that they could work toward more meaningful baseball activities during spring training.

During his eight-game stint with the Yankees, Jasson Dominguez showcased his power by hitting four home runs and maintaining a batting average of .258, boasting an impressive OPS of .980. Although the Yankees are expected to acquire an outfielder during the offseason to fill the void until Jasson Dominguez fully recovers, potentially targeting a prominent free agent, the prized prospect seems to be the definitive future solution for the outfield position, even in light of this setback in his development.

Boone pointed out that the player has demonstrated his abilities over the past few seasons, both in the minor leagues and in his limited time at the major league level. He highlighted the excitement within the organization regarding Jasson Dominguez’s potential and what they believe he can achieve as a player.

Jasson Dominguez at the age of 16 and on September 3, 2023, when he hit his second homer in third game for the Yankees.

Jasson Dominguez made a promising start in the major leagues earlier this month, smashing four home runs and achieving an impressive .980 OPS over eight games before an MRI examination on Sunday unveiled his elbow injury. In the days following the diagnosis, he sought opinions from various doctors before making the decision to proceed with the procedure performed by Dr. Meister.

Considering Jasson Dominguez’s anticipated return around June or July, the Yankees will likely need to acquire a temporary center fielder during the upcoming offseason. Boone highlighted the immediate priority of getting through the upcoming surgery and a productive winter of rehabilitation.

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