LOS ANGELES – The Dodgers didn’t have much information about rookie pitcher Jose Dominguez when they made the move to call him up to the big leagues on Saturday.
They knew he threw the ball hard. On Sunday afternoon, they got to see how hard.
Dominguez, a 22-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic, broke 100 mph three times in one inning against the Philadelphia Phillies, striking out the first batter he faced, Delmon Young, on a 101-mph heater in the Dodgers’ 6-1 win.
“I feel great, really great,” said Dominguez, who answered some questions in English although he had a Spanish translator nearby. “I’m working very hard to stay here.”
He has a spot in the Dodgers’ bullpen if he can throw strikes. Although Dominguez wasn’t invited to spring training and wasn’t on the 40-man roster, he was impressive enough in stints at Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Albuquerque to warrant a closer look.
In 22 games in the minors, Dominguez was 2-0 with five saves and a 1.79 ERA. He struck out 40 batters in 25 1/3 innings.
“We didn’t see him all spring, but we’ve been hearing about him at Double-A, and then they moved him to Triple-A with some of the stuff that was going on with our ‘pen,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “He kind of mowed through that quickly. You want to keep developing guys and make sure he’s ready and give him the best chance to have success when he gets here, but it’s pretty good stuff. You can make a mistake and miss a bat, and that’s what you like to see.”
Dominguez, who is 6 feet tall, has drawn comparisons to former Red Sox great Pedro Martinez, and understandably so. Sunday, he retired the side in order, mixing in a changeup in the low 80s with a fastball consistently 97 and higher. He threw two pitches that were clocked at 101 mph, one at 100, six at 99 and one at 97.
Asked if he checked the scoreboard to see how fast he was registering he smiled and said, “No, the guys told me.”
He insisted he wasn’t nervous making his major league debut, but he conceded that walking to the mound to start the eighth inning was unforgettable.
“Everybody waits for this moment,” he said.
When he came off, Dodgers fans behind the dugout gave him a standing ovation and teammate Yasiel Puig hugged him.