Realmuto, Bohm among 4 Phils unavailable for Toronto trip

July 12th, 2022

ST. LOUIS -- One game could be the difference between the Phillies making or missing the postseason for the first time since 2011.

It proved to be the difference in 2007, when they edged the Mets on the final day of the season to win the NL East.

The Phillies will be shorthanded Tuesday and Wednesday in Toronto because four players are not vaccinated for COVID-19, which is required before entering Canada: catcher J.T. Realmuto, third baseman Alec Bohm and right-handers Aaron Nola and Kyle Gibson. Bohm likely would have missed the two games anyway after dislocating his left ring finger in Monday's 6-1 loss to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. The four will be placed on the restricted list, meaning they will lose pay and service time. Realmuto will lose approximately $262,000. Nola will lose approximately $164,000.

“It’s an extremely unfortunate situation,” Realmuto said. “I’m a healthy 31-year-old professional athlete. I just didn’t feel a need to get it. I’ve had COVID a couple times, super-mild symptoms, back when it first came out. When it came time to decide whether I needed the vaccine or not, talking to doctors that I knew and told them my story, I decided I didn’t think I needed it. I wasn’t going to take it just because I was told, basically. What’s money? I’m not going to let Canada tell me what I do and don’t do with my body. For a little bit of money, it’s just not worth it.”

Bohm and Nola offered their reasons Monday, too.

“I wish it didn’t have to be like that, but I’ve got all the confidence in those guys to go out there in Toronto and go win a couple games,” Bohm said. “We’ve won games that I haven’t played in before. It is what it is. It’s out of my control. It’s a personal deal. I made a choice and there’s consequences that come with that.”

“I just didn’t want to do it,” Nola said.

Gibson on Saturday cited the medical condition ulcerative colitis and the medicines he takes to explain why he is not vaccinated.

“The medicines I take don’t let me build up antibodies,” Gibson said.

Realmuto and Bohm are everyday players and likely would have played both games. Nola pitched Monday against the Cardinals, so he would not have pitched in Toronto anyway. The Phillies flipped Gibson and Zack Wheeler in the rotation last week. Wheeler will pitch Wednesday. Gibson will pitch Friday in Miami.

But last week, the Phillies also optioned Bailey Falter to Triple-A Lehigh Valley because he is not vaccinated. He would have pitched Tuesday. Philadelphia initially wanted Ranger Suárez to pitch Tuesday, but he recently landed on the 15-day injured list with a low back spasm.

Tuesday will be a bullpen game started by Andrew Bellatti. It will be the Phillies’ second bullpen game in three days.

Teammates voiced support for the four unvaccinated Phillies, and others in the organization who aren’t vaccinated.

“I’m sure we know a lot of people who aren’t vaccinated,” Kyle Schwarber said. “They all go to their jobs. Do we treat them differently? Absolutely not. That’s just a way to put it in perspective. Just because we’re heading to Toronto doesn’t mean that someone is being a bad teammate just because they didn’t get it, right?”

“It's their decision,” interim manager Rob Thomson said. “They have every right to make whatever decision they want to make based on their health and what they think is best for them. If you know those guys and you see those guys on a daily basis, you know that they want to win.”

The Phillies held a meeting with the team about a month ago to encourage them to get vaccinated. Thomson said the organization “did a great job trying to educate these guys."

That's when players would have had to start that process to be vaccinated in time for the Toronto trip.

“You can’t mandate they get vaxxed,” said Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.

“My decision's going to stay my decision,” Bohm said. “I'm not going to backpedal on that. I've made my choice, and that's kind of what I'm sticking to.”

The Phillies will replace Realmuto on the roster with Rafael Marchán. They have not said who will replace Bohm, but it will not be Johan Camargo, who remains on the IL. Because Nola pitched Monday, the team cannot replace him. The Phils can replace Gibson for Wednesday’s game only because he technically could pitch then.

“It’s life, right?” Schwarber said. “It kind of goes a little bigger than a game. It could be personal beliefs, religious beliefs, something like that, right? Yeah, we are playing a game. That’s what we get paid to do, but people have to make that decision for themselves, for their personal lives and for their family. Yeah, there’s nothing in that clubhouse when we go to Toronto and we don’t have those guys there, there’s not going to be one hard feeling. We’re just going to have to go out there and win a baseball game.”