Domínguez's potential return; Eflin, Vinny

July 26th, 2021

PHILADELPHIA -- last threw a pitch for the Phillies on June 5, 2019. He had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on July 30, 2020.

Domínguez said Monday afternoon that he might be pitching for Philadelphia by late August or early September. He threw a simulated game on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park, and both he and the Phils said he could begin a rehab assignment as early as next week.

“My arm feels really good,” he said. “I’m letting it go 100%.”

Domínguez’s fastball averaged 98 mph in 2018 and 97.3 in 2019. He said it averaged 93-94 mph in recent bullpen sessions, but there is reason to think his velocity will improve as he builds arm strength and pitches in more competitive environments.

“I think it’s possible we could get him back,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “He’ll throw tomorrow. He’ll throw an inning, get three outs, then go back out. We won't extend him too far. It takes a while.

“I'm always careful to say when a guy's coming back from something [like] what he's going to be. But I've got to imagine for Seranthony, the simulated games aren't the same as a regular game from a general standpoint. I wouldn't think Minor League games would be the same as a big league game. So I believe that there's more in there.”

Eflin will not return this week
Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin hoped to miss just two starts because of tendinitis in his right knee, but he will miss at least three.

“It’s better, but it’s not where we need it to be,” Girardi said about Eflin’s knee. “He did a bullpen [session] yesterday, but it’s still not where we think it should be, so we will continue to keep going, see if we can get another bullpen in and see if it gets better.”

Right-hander Spencer Howard started in Eflin’s place last week at Yankee Stadium and again Monday against the Nationals.

Velasquez still scheduled to start Thursday
Girardi said right-hander Vince Velasquez is scheduled to make his next start Thursday against the Nationals.

Velasquez allowed six runs in 2 1/3 innings Saturday against the Braves. He has a 10.91 ERA in four starts this month, a 7.74 ERA in 10 starts since May 25 and a 7.15 ERA this season against every team other than the Marlins. Friday is the Trade Deadline, and the Phillies are looking for starting pitching. Perhaps Philadelphia will find somebody to start by then.

The Phillies have few internal options to take Velasquez’s spot, although they could have given right-hander Chase Anderson an opportunity. Anderson is 2-4 with a 7.34 ERA, although he has not pitched for the team since May 31 because of a lengthy stint on the COVID-19 injured list.

“We haven’t made that decision that we're going to start Chase yet,” Girardi said. “Vinny has struggled. I get that. But right now, it’s Vinny. It’s just what we have decided to do. We’ve talked about it internally. We just felt Vince was probably the option that we are going to stay with.”

Velasquez raised eyebrows Saturday when he wondered why he got removed so early from the game.

“Only 53 pitches, I know I have more room to make those improvements and try to at least go as deep as I possibly can,” he said. “So, it kind of threw me off guard being taken out early, but Joe made the decision.”

Asked if he explained to Velasquez why he pulled him when he did, Girardi said, “No. He was scuffling. That's why I took him out."