As the Inquirer’s Scott Lauber is reporting, right handed reliever Seranthony Dominguez has a decision to make. From Lauber:
It has been suggested to Dominguez that he undergo a reconstruction of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, a source close to the Phillies reliever said Monday evening...[b]ut Dominguez has not yet decided whether to go through with it. Tests aren’t conclusive for a tear in the ligament, according to the source, so Dominguez has returned to the Dominican Republic with plans to rest his arm while baseball is shut down by the coronavirus pandemic. When (or if?) the Phillies resume spring training, he intends to go for additional testing to determine if there has been improvement.
In a spring full of bad news that has surrounded the game of baseball, this news is particularly stinging to the Phillies. Dominguez was being counted on the be a large and integral part of a bullpen that, on paper, needs all the help it can get. Now, it’s looking more and more unlikely that he’ll be able to contribute to any part of the season that might be played.
Obviously, it’s easy for us to armchair quarterback and discuss how a) he should have already gotten the surgery, or b) he needs to get it done right away. But we’ve also seen from Dominguez how he is nervous about getting the surgery.
“I’m really worried,” he said at the time. “Because it’s my career. It’s my life.”
This kind of thing seems so commonplace nowadays among baseball pitchers, but it is still an incredibly invasive surgery that there is no guarantee of coming back from, no matter how improved it has become. It seems like for every 4 pitchers that do return to form from the surgery, there is one that is never the same. It’s virtually impossible to know which basket Dominguez falls into.
There is also the complicated issue of whether the surgery, should Dominguez decide to go through with it, is even something that should be considered necessary at this point. Hospitals are being overrun with cases of patients being infected with the COVID-19 virus and surgeries like this are considered “elective”, something many states are beginning to ban at this time. Noah Syndergaard and Chris Sale were able to get their surgeries done, but not without consternation from the baseball universe. When there are doctors and nurses that could use the materials needed for the surgery in order to combat the pandemic, should a patient like Dominguez be taken in and be given the surgery for which those needed resources would be diverted for? It’s a slippery slope.
For now though, we have to consider this a major blow to the team’s chances of winning. If the surgery does end up getting pushed back, it’s that much longer before Dominguez could be counted on to help the big league club. Here’s hoping the best decisions are made for the health of the player by everyone involved.