Yanks 'incredibly impressed' with Dominguez

Club's No. 1 prospect showcasing skills early in extended spring training

May 12th, 2021

Mario Garza is on the big league coaching lines this week, but in his usual role as the Yankees’ coordinator of baseball development, he sees the next generation of pinstriped talent develop daily -- a group that includes Jasson Dominguez, the club's No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline.

Dominguez, a switch-hitting center fielder with power and speed, is currently playing in extended spring training. The 18-year-old has earned physical comparisons to notable names like Bo Jackson, Mickey Mantle and Mike Trout, and he could join Low-A Tampa later this year.

“Jasson's a special player,” Garza said. “I've been incredibly impressed with him, just as a person and his maturity. He’s as advertised; he's very professional. He's very advanced for his age. He’s been nothing but spectacular to work with as a person and a player.”

Garza -- filling in for first-base coach Reggie Willits, who is in COVID-19 quarantine -- was working in the Dominican Republic when the Yankees inked Dominguez to a $5.1 million signing bonus in 2019, a period in which they built a relationship.

If Garza had to select one of Dominguez’s on-field traits as the most impressive, Garza said that he would point to Dominguez's offensive capability.

“His box presence is something; I like to say it’s extremely mature,” Garza said. “He appears to recognize pitches early, and there's no panic in the box. I think the sky's the limit for him offensively.”

Garza said that while the Yankees are eager to see how Dominguez fares against advanced competition, having him begin in extended spring training made sense at this time.

“At the end of the day, he's still 18 and doesn't have a lot of ABs under his belt,” Garza said. “We just thought the best long-term play is that he gets this experience here in extended. He's done everything we've asked of him so far.”

Garza's crash course
Before Garza’s phone rang on Tuesday morning, his original plan for the day had been to watch drills at the Yankees’ complex in Tampa, Fla., then drive across the bay to see Low-A Tampa in action against the Tigers' farm club in Lakeland, Fla.

Instead, the 11-year veteran of the Yankees' organization found himself on the coaching lines at Tropicana Field, having received a crash course on the Rays’ pitchers from manager Aaron Boone, bench coach Carlos Mendoza and Willits.

“When you get on the baseball field, it’s baseball,” Garza said. “But leading up to it, there was a lot of information thrown my way. I can’t say enough about Boonie, Mendy and Reggie, all of the preparation and help that they gave me. It was different, but I felt comfortable once I got out there.”

He said it
“Everyone was talking about it, trying to figure out what exactly was going on and who the positives were. I warmed up by myself out in left field, trying to avoid confined spaces. I'll wear my mask and do what I'm supposed to do, but I'm not too panicked about it right now.” -- right-hander Jameson Taillon, on the Yankees’ positive COVID-19 tests

Bombers bits
• Center fielder Aaron Hicks returned to the Yankees’ lineup on Wednesday after being scratched Tuesday due to a bruised right shin, which was sustained during Sunday’s game at Yankee Stadium. Boone said that Hicks was moving around well before the game.

• Right-hander Luis Severino had been scheduled to throw a batting-practice session on Wednesday, which would have been his first since undergoing Tommy John surgery, but the outing was pushed to Thursday when the right-hander mentioned he had back stiffness. Severino is projected to rejoin the big league rotation this summer.

This date in Yankees history
May 12, 1996: The Yankees trailed, 8-0, after two innings, then scored nine unanswered runs to post a 9-8 Mother’s Day win over the White Sox at Comiskey Park. Joe Girardi’s bases-clearing double in the sixth inning put New York in front.