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Callup 8 years in the making for Nola family

Realmuto, Bruce day to day; MLB celebrates Father's Day
@ToddZolecki
June 16, 2019

ATLANTA -- Aaron Nola’s mother texted him Saturday night and said she had incredible news. His older brother Austin had been called up to the big leagues with the Mariners, following an eight-year run through the Minor Leagues. “It’s one of the better days I’ve had, and probably one of

ATLANTA -- Aaron Nola’s mother texted him Saturday night and said she had incredible news. His older brother Austin had been called up to the big leagues with the Mariners, following an eight-year run through the Minor Leagues.

“It’s one of the better days I’ve had, and probably one of the better days my parents have had, too,” Aaron said Sunday morning at SunTrust Park. “A good present for my dad on Father’s Day.”

Aaron and Austin Nola played together in high school and in college at LSU. The Phillies selected Aaron, 26, with the seventh overall pick in the 2014 Draft. He made his big league debut July 21, 2015. The Marlins selected Austin, 29, in the fifth round of the ‘12 Draft. Austin played 773 games in the Minor Leagues, learning to play catcher at one point, before finally getting the call.

“I wanted to get emotional, man,” Aaron said. “I’ve been through it with him in the offseasons. I know how hard he works. Every year he always stays super positive through it. Always has the confidence. He always says, ‘I know I’m going to get there. I’m going to stay in ball until I get there.’ Not many guys do that. I don’t hear that from many guys. Playing [eight] full years in the Minor Leagues? It’s tough. Fortunately, I didn’t go through it like he did, but I’ve seen it through his eyes and have been with him through a lot of it. It’s just super exciting.”

Austin got the call after the Mariners traded Edwin Encarnacion to the Yankees. He batted .327/.415/.520 with seven home runs and 37 RBIs in 54 games with Triple-A Tacoma.

“I think I was happier last night with him getting called up than I was when I got called up,” Aaron said. “I had a feeling I was going to get called up and [then] it’s let’s great ready for the start. I think it means a lot more to me for him getting called up for how long he’s been in the Minor Leagues and how long he’s worked for it. He’s 29 now. You see a lot of guys getting called up earlier than that. It kind of shows a lot about a guy that sticks with it until he’s almost 30 years old.”

Aaron has faced his brother four times in his life: once in a high school intrasquad game and three times in an intrasquad game at LSU. He allowed a first-pitch double off the outfield wall, hit him with a pitch and struck him out.

He would love to face his brother in the big leagues.

Bruce and Realmuto OK
Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said left fielder Jay Bruce and catcher J.T. Realmuto are OK and will not be placed on the 10-day injured list.

Bruce has been playing with tightness in his left hamstring the past few days. He needed to leave Saturday’s game after failing to score from first base on a double by Scott Kingery in the third inning. He remains day to day. Realmuto got hit between the legs by a foul ball in the fifth. He suffered some nausea, but he will need a day or two to recover.

Neshek back, Irvin recalled
The Phillies activated right-hander Pat Neshek from the 10-day injured list. They recalled No. 16 prospect left-hander Cole Irvin, who will pitch at some point in Sunday’s series finale against the Braves. The Phillies optioned left-hander Ranger Suarez and right-hander Edgar Garcia to make room for both pitchers on the roster.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook .