Jason Dominguez knew how to make a difference in 2023. How are things going now?

Coming off the last month of a forgettable season in the Bronx, the Yankees got a great injection of excitement last September when their favorite prospect, Jason Dominguez, hit four home runs in his first seven Major League games. The Dominican made history at the age of 20, becoming the youngest Yankee to hit a home run in his Major League debut, the youngest to do so in his first trip to the plate in MLB, and the youngest to hit a home run in his first six games. Together first. as a major leaguer

However, that excitement wore off after eight games for Dominguez, who ultimately underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, keeping him out of action until mid-2024. But the switch-hitting outfielder’s poor start was just the thing. Which Yankees fans had. The wait was years in the making, as Dominguez became one of the most celebrated international prospects in history by signing for $5.4 million in 2019.

“Thank God, what I was able to do in those eight games…it’s definitely like being in another world, another experience,” the slugger said.

What many may forget is that 2023 has not started off well for Dominguez, who was making his first long stint in Double-A. In fact, the man from the Dominican Republic hit .204/.345/.346 at that level midway through the campaign. Even “The Martian” felt the year was already ruined.

“I didn’t play well in the first half,” Dominguez recalled this week. “By the beginning of the second, I basically put it in my mind, ‘Okay, I have 300 shifts. I’m not in a very good moment to take it again.’ I had this thought in my mind, ‘Concho, I’m going to start working now for next year.’ Start preparing so that something like this doesn’t happen.”

In other words, Dominguez just gave up last year. But in the process of “preparing” for 2024, they saved their 2023 with great fanfare.

“After there, I followed my normal routine with a different mindset, not worrying too much about it,” he said. “And things worked out.”

It is not enough to say this. Since the start of the second half of the season, Domínguez improved in all offensive numbers, increasing his average to .254/.367/.414 with 15 homers and 37 stolen bases in Double-A. This earned him a promotion to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he went 13-for-31 (.419). And of course, we already know how it went with the big Yankees team (four HR, seven CE) in those eight games.

“That was kind of unbelievable, because I thought he was dead that year,” admitted Dominguez, who will turn 21 on Feb. 7. “It happened so quickly, in a month, a month and a half. That was an incredible thing. Whatever did not happen in the first part happened in the second part.”

Dominguez has made progress in his recovery

When Dominguez had surgery in September, he was told that recovery would take nine to 10 months. With that schedule, the young man could rejoin the Yankees in the month of July.

“So far, the rehab is going very well,” said Dominguez, who is at the Yankees facility in Tampa, Florida. “I am feeling absolutely normal. Obviously, no matter how I feel, there is a process that must be followed. But so far, I have not had any complaints, I have not had any recurrence. I feel very good”.

Ready to relive the atmosphere of the Bronx

Admittedly, Dominguez had an encouraging debut with the Yankees. And in the long term, he projects to be the team’s long-term center fielder.

However, much remains to be seen in 2024. When will he actually return to the field? How will his playing time look now in the Bronx with Juan Jose Soto, Alex Verdugo and Trent Grisham? Will he be reassigned to Triple-A to get up to speed initially? What is known is that Dominguez, sometime this year, will return to that veteran clubhouse in New York to continue learning.

“An experience that changes you, being in that environment with guys who already have a name for themselves and are already successful,” Domínguez said of his first stint with the big team. “See how they handle themselves, see how they act, see how they work. “Definitely, it’s something that changes you and changes you for the better.”

And of course, playing with his compatriot Soto represents an additional component of Dominican flavor.

Dominguez commented, “For me, it’s an honor to be able to play with Judge Juan Soto.” “I watched them on television when I was starting out in the little leagues, and to go out there and know that I have an opportunity to play with them is definitely something amazing.”

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