Yankees outfielder Jasson Dominguez takes fly balls during spring training at...

Yankees outfielder Jasson Dominguez takes fly balls during spring training at the team's facility in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

TAMPA, Fla. – Neither behind nor ahead of schedule, Jasson Dominguez continues making the kind of progress the Yankees hope brings the rookie back to the big leagues by the early summer.

Dominguez, who had an exhilarating start to his big-league career as a Sept. 1 call-up, saw that suddenly end after a week when he suffered a UCL tear in his right elbow and soon underwent Tommy John surgery.

Dominguez, who began his throwing program last week, is slated to start hitting at some point next week.

[Being] patient,” Dominguez said early Tuesday morning. “I don’t want to rush anything. But I want to be back [as soon as possible], sure.”

Because of the outfield depth accumulated in the winter – including the trades for Juan Soto, Alex Verdugo and Trent Grisham – there certainly is no current need for Dominguez, who turned 21 on Feb. 7, to rush.

“I know I can play here, but I also know there’s a lot of work to do,” said Dominguez, who homered four times in eight games and produced a .980 OPS. “I’ve got a lot of things I have learn. I had a great start, but I just know in my mind that I have a lot of things to learn.”

Cortes sharp

Nestor Cortes’ three-inning live batting practice took on event status Tuesday, with managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner and GM Brian Cashman among those watching. And on-field, watching from behind the screen behind the mound, were a combined 507 big-league wins as former Yankees Andy Pettitte (256 wins) and CC Sabathia (251) are in town as guest instructors.

Cortes faced Aaron Judge, Soto, Giancarlo Stanton, Verdugo and Grisham.

Cortes, coming off a disappointing 2023 that saw him miss much of the season with shoulder trouble, struck out Soto three times (and talked zero trash about it afterward).

“A good way to taste where I’m at,” Cortes said of facing that gauntlet of hitters.

Of the Soto strikeouts, Cortes said with a smile: “It’s too early for him to be out there [in live BP]. There’s nothing to it.”

Getting started

Aaron Boone said Luis Gil, a well-regarded prospect whom the Yankees hope will provide them with starting pitching depth this season, is likely to start Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener in Lakeland against the Tigers. Sunday brings split-squad games – at Steinbrenner Field against the Blue Jays and at Clearwater against the Phillies. Long Island’s Marcus Stroman is slated to start the game in Clearwater, while Carlos Rodon gets the nod against Toronto.

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