A hectic day in Philadelphia sports (you may have heard the Eagles just traded starting quarterback Carson Wentz to Indianapolis), took another interesting turn with Thursday’s revelation that J.T. Realmuto will miss time with a fractured thumb, an injury the All-Star backstop suffered during a bullpen session six days ago. Realmuto, who returned to the Phillies on a five-year, $115-million contract this offseason, expects to be ready for Opening Day in six weeks, though time will tell.
“I’m not very worried,” Realmuto told reporters, including our own Tim Kelly, during Thursday’s Zoom call. “If I was a Phillies fan, I wouldn’t be too worried.”
This obviously isn’t the news Philadelphia was hoping for at the onset of spring training (pitchers and catchers held their first official workout Wednesday at the team’s facility in Clearwater), though even if Realmuto’s absence stretches into the regular season, manager Joe Girardi feels the Phillies are in good hands with Andrew Knapp behind the plate.
“We’re fortunate to have Andrew Knapp as a backup for J.T.,” said the Phillies skipper of Knapp, who hit a respectable .278 in limited at-bats (72) last year. The injury is to Realmuto’s right (throwing) thumb and will presumably require a cast.
Losing Realmuto, arguably the top all-around catcher in MLB, for any length of time would be a major blow for the Phillies, who hold the NL’s longest active postseason drought, last reaching the playoffs in 2011. Realmuto, who turns 30 next month, has appeared in two All-Star games and was named a second-team All-MLB selection during last year’s coronavirus-shortened 2020 campaign. He’s also won a Gold Glove and two Silver Sluggers including one from his previous stint with the Miami Marlins.
The folks at FanGraphs, one of baseball’s leading analytics sites, apparently aren’t high on the Phillies this year, pegging their playoff odds at a slim 13.4 percent.